- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 6, 2002

Butch Davis once recruited Kenard Lang away from Steve Spurrier at the college level. He did it again yesterday in the pros.
Lang, who started at defensive tackle last season for the Washington Redskins, signed a five-year, $17million deal with the Cleveland Browns that re-unites him with Davis, the former Miami Hurricanes and current Browns coach.
The deal also re-unites Lang with two former Redskins coaches: Terry Robiskie, who was the interim head coach after Norv Turner was fired, and Foge Fazio, a linebackers coach. Robiskie is now the Browns' receivers coach and Fazio their defensive coordinator.
Lang, the Redskins' 1997 first-round draft pick, said that the chance to make more money and return to end outweighed the benefits of playing in Washington next season.
"The facilities and defensive scheme are exactly what I was looking for," Lang said on the Browns' Web site. "I can't wait to put on a Cleveland Browns jersey and go talk to the Dawg Pound."
The Redskins expected to lose Lang, their pre-eminent free agent. Washington didn't make a firm offer to any of its 17 unrestricted free agents before the March1 signing period. The team, just $3million under the $71.1million salary cap limit and still needing a quarterback, chose instead to be conservative in free agency.
After splurging in recent offseasons, the Redskins have made only modest acquisitions this year, signing linebacker Jessie Armstead ($4.5million over three years) and receiver Reidel Anthony ($525,000).
"[Langs] number was such that we didn't feel like we could go that high, so we wish him the best," Spurrier said. "That's part of the game."
Lang entered free agency seeking a $10million signing bonus, but the glut of veterans released leaguewide last week by teams seeking to get under the salary cap limit depressed the dollar value of deals.
Lang received a $3.4million bonus from the Browns and will earn $550,000 this season. The deal is essentially a four-year, $5.5million contract; the $8.5million provided for the final two seasons probably will be voided. There are also workout bonuses worth $450,000 over five years.
"Kenard's an impact player with the best years of his career ahead of him," Davis said.
Lang's shift to tackle last season was a surprising success considering that the 280-pounder often was 30 pounds lighter than opposing guards. Lang's quickness was an advantage early in the season. However, a scheme change at midseason required Lang to merely hold his position rather than charge the passer, reducing his effectiveness. Lang started 52 of 76 games with 21 sacks and made a career-best 67 tackles last year.
Lang will return to his natural left-end slot for the Browns. He'll play alongside fellow first-rounders Courtney Brown at end and Gerald Warren at tackle.
The Redskins already are pursuing a replacement for Lang. Washington will consider Miami Dolphins end Kenny Mixon, New York Jets tackle Steve Martin and New England Patriots tackle Brandon Mitchell, who visited the Minnesota Vikings yesterday. Mixon and Martin could fit into the Redskins' conservative salary cap style. Third-year Redskins tackle Del Cowsette also could start. Washington now is only $1.7million under the cap.
"You get the next best young guy, you train him and you plug that guy in the spot," defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis said.
Meanwhile, Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Leon Searcy will visit Redskin Park today and will be considered to play guard. He'll also visit the Atlanta Falcons and the Dolphins. Searcy has never played guard, but the Redskins may be willing to gamble on the 1999 Pro Bowl player, who spent most of the past two seasons on injured reserve.
Linebacker Shawn Barber will visit the New York Jets today and perhaps the New York Giants tomorrow. Center Cory Raymer will visit the Houston Texans later this week. The Dallas Cowboys, who signed the Rams' Jeff Robinson to a four-year, $4.8million deal, won't pursue Redskins tight end Stephen Alexander.
Redskins assistant director of pro personnel Lloyd Richards was named the University of Illinois' director of football operations.

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