- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 20, 2002

It's not often Washington Redskins offensive tackle Chris Samuels feels small, but hanging around sumo wrestlers last week in Japan gave the 6-foot-5, 303-pounder a new perspective.
"That felt different for me because they were 500 pounds," Samuels said. "I couldn't get in the ring with them, but on the football field I could block them."
Samuels returned Monday after a week in Osaka, Japan, promoting the Redskins' preseason opener against the San Francisco 49ers in the American Bowl on Aug.3. A whirlwind of media events, baseball games and sumo matches left him eager to return. The team will also practice two days in Osaka as part of the NFL's annual international game.
"I like to visit new places and see what it's like," Samuels said. "They treated us very well. The [14-hour] flight over wasn't bad, but you need a day or two to recover from it."
The Redskins will adjust their summer schedule for the trip abroad that opens a five-game preseason. The team begins training camp on July23 at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa. The Redskins depart for Japan on July31 and return Aug.4. Team officials are unsure whether the Redskins will return to Carlisle for a couple of days or remain at Redskin Park before traveling to Tampa Bay for the Aug.9 game. Washington is expected to break camp on Aug.22.
The Redskins begin a three-day minicamp on Tuesday that will be coach Steve Spurrier's first practices since being hired on Jan.15. The team will work twice on the first two days and once Thursday. The Redskins also have a minicamp April 25- 27 with a month-long quarterback school starting in mid-May.
Samuels is eager to see how the former coach of his SEC rival operates on the practice field. Samuels admits his Alabama background made him initially hesitant when he heard the one-time nemesis from Florida was hired.
"Alabama and Florida don't get along too well," Samuels said. "I wasn't thrilled when I played against [Spurrier], but now I'm thrilled over anybody that will give a little [easier practices]. It will be interesting to see this offense. We're going to score some points this year."
Meanwhile, Samuels said he'll work on his Japanese after learning a few words during the trip. Samuels was sometimes teased by teammates the last two seasons about his southern accent, though he's easily understood compared to cornerback Fred Smoot (Mississippi State) and receiver Rod Gardner (Clemson). However, interacting with the Japanese left Samuels sometimes confused.
"If they dropped me off in middle of the city I'd be lost," Samuels said. "I'd have to find the someone who spoke both languages and pay them anything to get back to the hotel."
Note Former Redskins quarterback Kent Graham will visit Houston on Friday. The unrestricted free agent is expected to sign with the expansion Texans and tutor top draft pick David Carr of Fresno State. Graham played in three games last season, leading Washington to a 17-10 victory at Denver in relief of injured quarterback Tony Banks.

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