- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 8, 2002

CARLISLE, Pa. Washington Redskins rookie quarterback Patrick Ramsey reported to a half-complete training camp yesterday, ending his holdout at 16 days by signing a five-year, $5.7 million contract.
The draft's 32nd overall pick was upbeat, hoping to catch up quickly to Washington's three veteran passers and claiming there were no hard feelings from an 11th-hour attempt to trade him to the Chicago Bears. Both he and the team seemed willing, despite the lengthy and sometimes contentious holdout, to attribute the past two weeks to "business."
"It was very frustrating, because I'm the kind of guy who never missed a workout," Ramsey said. "At the same time, it's the business side of things I've never dealt with and was inexperienced with. I'm just learning the business end of these deals. I was broken in early, I guess."
Said coach Steve Spurrier: "It was disappointing the way it all happened. But it happened, and it's history. We'll take it from there."
Ramsey's deal, NFL sources said, includes a $3.1million signing bonus and a package of escalators (future salary increases) that could compensate him like a starter as soon as next season. But he must win the job within this year's first few games, hold it and play well to earn the deal's maximum value. If he does, Washington will have gotten a starting quarterback at an affordable rate.
His chances of starting immediately, though, appear remote. Spurrier said yesterday that Ramsey will not play in Saturday's preseason game at Carolina, and the coach indicated that he soon will begin trimming the list of potential starters from three to two.
Already, Ramsey missed last weekend's 38-7 blowout of the San Francisco 49ers in Osaka, Japan, where Sage Rosenfels and Danny Wuerffel combined for five touchdowns and 434 passing yards. At Carolina the plan is for Shane Matthews to start and play at least a half, giving way to Rosenfels and Wuerffel.
"[Spurrier] told me it's going to be tough because I'm far behind," Ramsey said. "I'm just going to focus on progressing as fast as possible."
Ramsey's deal came one day after the Redskins nearly traded him for a future draft pick and Bears guard Mike Gandy, who was a third-round selection in 2001. Agent Jimmy Sexton negotiated a contract with the Bears and Ramsey was set to go, but Chicago wouldn't give up the first-round pick Washington sought. The Bears' highest offer was a second-round selection.
Now the Redskins cannot trade Ramsey. To complete a trade, Washington must have had Ramsey signed Tuesday night (to navigate rookie pool rules) and then dealt him before a midnight deadline unique to draft picks.
"Floored" was among the terms Ramsey used to characterize his reaction to the sudden trade talks, but he believes the situation worked out for the best.
"I was going to have to accept whatever I was presented with, but at the same time I wanted to play here all along," Ramsey said.
Teammates sympathized with Ramsey's wild emotional swing going from franchise quarterback to trade bait back to (supposedly) franchise quarterback. Ramsey thinks he remains the focus of Washington's long-term plans, but teammates couldn't help but wince when discussing the near-trade.
"That has to hurt," linebacker LaVar Arrington said. "Whether he has hard feelings or not, or if he's OK with it, it still has to hurt your pride a little bit to be potentially traded away when you're a first-round pick."
Spurrier, who largely stayed out of personnel matters in early months with the team, was given the final say over Ramsey, NFL sources said. The coach, though, would not confirm he was interested in a trade, saying, "I want to do what's best for the Redskins. That's always my answer. Whatever's best for the Redskins is what I'm for."
Playing the complex position of quarterback, of course, won't exactly help Ramsey regroup quickly from his holdout, but then again, he has the benefit of not being expected to start. Regardless, teammates indicated that they won't harp on his absence.
"His teammates aren't going to look at him in a different way, because everybody went through this point in their life," said cornerback Fred Smoot, who held out two days last summer. "Who's to say next year's player won't hold out for a contract? Everybody's got to do their own business."
Notes Cornerback Champ Bailey dislocated his left pinky finger in the afternoon practice and will miss Saturday's game. He will not need surgery, though. Guard Kipp Vickers had blood in his urine and will undergo testing. He also will not play at Carolina.


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