- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 11, 2002

Washington Redskins coach Steve Spurrier and defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson debated the term "voluntary" yesterday.
Spurrier was upset that Wilkinson largely missed several weeks of voluntary offseason practices before returning for a mandatory three-day minicamp ending tomorrow. Although other players have missed some workouts, including running back Stephen Davis in the morning session and cornerback Darrell Green in the afternoon drill yesterday for personal reasons, Spurrier was troubled by Wilkinson's regular absence.
"Dan's the one that hasn't been coming very regularly," Spurrier said. "He's about the only one on the whole team."
Wilkinson responded that the workouts were optional and that taxing himself too much in the offseason might leave his legs tired by November.
"Coaches have told me I'm wrong; I tell them I'm right," Wilkinson said. "My focus is on training camp. As coaches, their focus is on right now. How can we get better today? That's not particularly mine."
Spurrier rejected Wilkinson's stance, saying other veterans don't seem tired from past light workouts largely focusing on team drills.
"I guess we're running all the other guys into the ground. If the whole team had his attitude, we'd been in trouble, wouldn't we?" Spurrier said. "It's something new to me. I've never had a guy not wanting to practice with his teammates, but we'll handle it. If he's our best player he'll play, and if he's not someone else will play."
Wilkinson dismissed the saga as insignificant and short-lived. He expects it to be forgotten when training camp begins July 23.
"It's cool to come back for [minicamp]," Wilkinson said. "Coaches want to see 100 percent [participation], and if it isn't they're going to be disappointed. In due time, it won't be a subject."

Double duty?
Cornerbacks Champ Bailey and Fred Smoot returned punts, and Spurrier said each would have a chance to earn the job during the preseason.
"If they can catch them and go, that's fine," Spurrier said. "If not, we'll put Kevin [Lockett] back there."
Bailey has long lobbied to return punts and catch passes but has gotten only sporadic chances in past years. Previous coaches feared overtaxing him in double or triple roles, but Bailey caught three passes in 2000 when he reached the Pro Bowl after playing three ways in college. He's not worried over risking injury as a punt returner.
"It's as dangerous as you make it," Bailey said. "Don't catch it if somebody's right in front of you."

Extra points
Two practices in blistering heat made minicamp seem more like training camp. The defense bested the offense during team drills.
"A lot of offensive guys were tired," Spurrier said. "The defensive guys were flying around looking pretty good."
Receiver Jacquez Green (dehydration), running back Ladell Betts (sprained shoulder) and receiver Derrius Thompson (hamstring) were limited in practice. Cornerback Donovan Greer participated in individual drills for the first time since suffering a torn knee ligament against Green Bay on Sept.22.
Several Japanese media attended practice readying for the Redskins' preseason opener in Osaka, Japan, on Aug.3. Smoot, known for his fast-talking jokes, didn't mind being overlooked by the foreign press.
"English-[speaking] people already have a hard time getting my words right," he said.
Former Washington receiver Michael Westbrook appeared close to a deal with Cincinnati after visiting yesterday. However, Westbrook didn't seem concerned over signing anywhere yet. "I've been sitting at home for four months," he said. "I don't feel any pressure. You have to look at every situation."


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