- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 23, 2002

The Washington Redskins were close to signing Detroit Lions guard Tony Semple yesterday as they seek to rebuild the interior offensive line.
Semple met with owner Dan Snyder, offensive line coach Kim Helton and offensive tackle Jon Jansen over the past two days at Redskin Park. Agent Kyle Rote Jr. was upbeat over the visit but remained cautious while evaluating the team's chances of signing Semple. He is considering several other teams, including re-signing with Detroit.
If he signs, Semple will fill the left guard spot vacated by Dave Szott, who signed with the New York Jets. The team also needs a right guard because the chances are decreasing that Ben Coleman will re-sign. Washington signed Indianapolis center Larry Moore to replace free agent Cory Raymer, who signed with San Diego.
Semple, 31, started the past three seasons at Detroit. The 1994 fifth-round pick was a free agent three times but always re-signed with the Lions. He also was a deep snapper early in his career. Washington is expected to replace snapper Ethan Albright with a starter to save a roster spot.
Meanwhile, the Redskins signed cornerback Kenneth Grant to a one-year, $225,000 deal. Grant was released by Carolina during training camp last year after starting two seasons at Kentucky. Tight end Zeron Flemister signed a one-year, $300,000 deal. The exclusive rights player is expected to gain more time after Stephen Alexander signed with San Diego.
Quarterback Kent Graham rejected the Houston Texans' one-year offer worth $550,000 to be a short-term starter while Houston develops a rookie passer. The Texans probably will take quarterback David Carr with the first overall selection April 20. Graham is seeking a multi-year deal after playing for six teams in 10 years. He led Washington to a 17-10 victory over Denver last year in one of three relief appearances.
The Redskins may gain several mid- and late-round compensation draft picks next week. Washington lost several free agents last year, including quarterback Brad Johnson and receiver James Thrash, that could earn third- to fifth-round picks. Washington sent its third-round selection to Kansas City for signing coach Marty Schottenheimer.


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