- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 24, 2002

Though it's extremely unlikely Deion Sanders will make it to the Oakland Raiders, the Washington Redskins made it possible yesterday.
The Redskins waived the future Hall of Fame cornerback from the reserve-retired list to give him a remote chance of making a playoff run with the Raiders.
NFL rules, however, dictate that every NFL team (including Oakland) must pass on Sanders while he is on waivers for him to play again this season. He then could sign with the Raiders as a free agent and join them for the playoffs.
If Sanders is claimed, he will revert to that team's reserve-retired list and be unable to play this season for that team. According to NFL rules, players cannot be activated from the reserve list this late in the season.
There would be no salary cap ramifications for a team claiming Sanders, so it is very likely some club will try to block Oakland's attempt to boost its talent for the playoffs.
The Redskins could not trade Sanders' rights directly to Oakland because the trade deadline has passed. If another team claims Sanders, it would retain his rights and be able to trade them if he wants to join another club in, say, 2003.
The Redskins knew there was little chance Sanders would play for Oakland but decided not to stand in his way. Former coach and director of football operations Marty Schottenheimer negotiated Sanders' retirement, and the current regime didn't want to dwell on the past.
At one point Sunday night, Washington was considering filing tampering charges against the Raiders, who spoke with Sanders even though he remained Redskins property. But by midday yesterday, the Redskins were happy to free Sanders from his commitment.
"I have no problem with him playing with the Oakland Raiders," owner Dan Snyder told ESPN. "We don't care. If it were the Eagles or Giants, it wouldn't happen. All [Raiders senior assistant] Bruce Allen has to do is call me direct and it will happen. I love Bruce Allen, and I love Al Davis, and I think it would be really exciting."
Allen is the son of former Redskins and Hall of Fame coach George Allen and the brother of Sen.George Allen, Virginia Republican.
Sanders, currently working for "The NFL Today" show on CBS, revealed his talks with the Raiders on the air Sunday.
$3M more on cap
Limiting the Houston Texans to 166 yards in Sunday's 26-10 win boosted the Redskins to No.6 in the NFL's total defense rankings, a move that could prove very costly when escalators and incentives are tallied before the 2003 league starts in early March.
Linebacker LaVar Arrington now is in line to trigger a clause that rewards him with, among other things, a $3million escalator to his 2003 base salary, sources familiar with the contract said.
That means Washington would have $3million less to spend against the cap; already the club is projected to be only about $1million below the $73.9 million limit, though it is expected to cut running back Stephen Davis and save $5.2million of space.
Bottom line: A team that doesn't have a lot of projected cap space now looks like it will have even less, further crimping its ability to pursue major free agents.
No changes
The Redskins are not looking to replace punter Craig Jarrett or kicker Jose Cortez before Sunday's finale against Dallas, coach Steve Spurrier said, even though both young players are struggling badly.
Jarrett shanked two punts and had another blocked and covered for a touchdown against the Texans, and Cortez missed two of his three field goal attempts. Jarrett clearly was unsettled by game's end, though Spurrier did say the block was not his fault.
"Hopefully, we can get Craig to just catch the ball and hit it with his foot in the middle of the ball," Spurrier said. "If we can do that and punt it out 30 yards, we'll be happy. We sort of think it's too late [to make a change]. And he's a pretty good holder [on field goals]."
On punt returns, cornerback Champ Bailey is back as the returner following an ill-fated experiment with Bruce Branch. Branch was nervous on his tries before suffering a high ankle sprain. Yesterday he was placed on injured reserve.
Washington's special teams have been a problem throughout the season, but Spurrier gave position coach Mike Stock a vote of confidence after Sunday's game.
Extra points
Defensive end Ladairis Jackson underwent surgery to repair a torn patella tendon and was placed on injured reserve. Spurrier said Jackson's rehabilitation will take five to six months.
Guard Brenden Stai, who is in line for arthroscopic knee surgery, also was placed on injured reserve. Running back Robert Gillespie was called up from the practice squad to take one of Washington's three roster openings. Wide receiver Richmond Flowers is expected to be called up today.
Among less serious injuries, safety Andre Lott has a bruised chest and will not practice today.
Davis, a two-time Pro Bowl player, offered a bit of gallows humor when discussing the likelihood of being released. Said Davis: "I've just got to get myself healthy and hopefully somebody will pick me up."

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