- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 13, 2002

Washington Redskins special teams ace Michael Bates earned Pro Bowl recognition all three seasons he played for Dom Capers with the Carolina Panthers, but there won't be any coach-player reunions in Houston. That's because Bates is 32 and the Texans are approaching Monday's NFL expansion draft with an eye on the future, not just 2002.
"Anyone over 30 is eliminated," Texans general manager Charley Casserly said.
That proviso eliminates most of the biggest names among the 155 players that the current 31 teams have made available to the Texans. Among them are New York Giants Pro Bowl linebacker Jessie Armstead (31), Atlanta quarterback Chris Chandler (36), Jacksonville receiver Keenan McCardell (32), Tampa Bay guard Randall McDaniel (37), Tennessee guard Bruce Matthews (the 40-year-old former Houston Oilers standout) and Denver linebacker Bill Romanowski (35). And Houston won't take Sean Gilbert, the 31-year-old Carolina defensive tackle who likely cost Casserly's Redskins a playoff spot by sitting out the 1997 season and who helped cost Capers his job a year later by being such a bust for the Panthers.
However, there are some skilled if expensive younger players such as quarterbacks Rob Johnson of Buffalo and Charlie Batch of Detroit, Jaguars offensive tackle Tony Boselli, New York Jets cornerback Aaron Glenn, Baltimore kick returner Jermaine Lewis, Miami defensive tackle Tim Bowens as well such cheaper talent as Ravens linebacker Jamie Sharper, Jets offensive tackle Ryan Young and ends Marcus Jones of the Bucs and Kenny Holmes of the Giants. Also keep an eye on Minnesota offensive lineman Brad Badger, whom Casserly drafted in Washington in 1997, and Jaguars defensive tackles Seth Payne and Gary Walker, who started for Capers when he was Jacksonville's defensive coordinator in 1999 and 2000.
"There are a lot of high-priced players on the list, but the free agent market [which opens March 1] is thin so we'll do more in the draft," said Casserly, who figures to make Boselli the Texans' highest-priced player if his lately ailing body proves sturdy.
All exposed players must be under contract, only one per team can have played as many as 10 seasons or finished 2001 on injured reserve and no punters or kickers could be included. The Texans can either select between 30 and 42 players or choose fewer players whose salaries equal 38 percent ($27.24 million) of the 2002 cap. It'll be the latter as Casserly said he plans to take "between 12 and 16 players."
While the expansion draft is the first for Casserly, Capers was Carolina's coach for the 1995 draft. The Panthers shockingly reached the NFC Championship game the next year.
"It's a totally different list than what I was involved with in '95," Capers said. "You see the effect of the salary cap on this list. There are a lot of recognizable players, but you have to take a look at the contracts that come along with them. Where are these players going to be three years from now? Are they the type of players that will fit into our blueprint? You can have a blueprint for a 9-7 team, and probably get there a lot quicker than you can if your blueprint is to eventually win the championship."
In addition to Bates, the Redskins exposed snapper Ethan Albright, third receiver Kevin Lockett, little-used defensive tackle Jerry DeLoach and backup guard Matt Campbell. While Lockett, who had 22 catches last season while also throwing a touchdown pass and returning punts, could be useful and DeLoach's youth (he's 24) and size (6-foot-2, 315 pounds) are intriguing, Houston just might go after Campbell, an original Panther who started 32 games at three different positions for Capers from 1996 to 1998.


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