- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 7, 2002

The Washington Redskins yesterday opted not to sign retired Green Bay Packers tight end Mark Chmura, who has been out of football for nearly three seasons and was acquitted of sexual assault charges last year.
Redskins coach Steve Spurrier yesterday said he didn't forsee signing Chmura after meeting with him Tuesday, but wouldn't elaborate on his reasons.
"I don't believe anything will happen with him," Spurrier said. "I don't believe anything will come of it."
Joe Mendes, the Redskins vice president of football operations, met with Chmura's agent, Eric Metz, at Redskin Park. Mendes doesn't discuss personnel moves and Metz declined comment. Mendes worked for Metz during an 18-month break before returning to the Redskins in January.
Chmura, 33, hasn't played since suffering numbness in his hands and neck from a bulging disc after two games in 1999. He was acquitted of sexual assault charges in 2001. He retired after failing to sign with a team last season.
The three-time Pro Bowl player, who caught 188 passes from 1993 to 1999, has been cleared to play. With free agent Stephen Alexander not expected to return, the Redskins need an offensive threat at tight end.
However, there appeared some organizational indecision about Chmura based on the long layoff and sexual assault case. Owner Dan Snyder met with Chmura on Tuesday to indicate that serious consideration was given to signing him. Snyder doesn't routinely meet visiting free agents.
Meanwhile, former Baltimore offensive tackle Leon Searcy underwent a physical by team officials after being sidelined the last two years by multiple injuries. The 10-year veteran was a Pro Bowl pick in 1999 before being injured in consecutive preseasons but would be ready for training camp if signed. Spurrier did not seem greatly interested in Searcy, who also is expected to visit the Miami Dolphins.
"We just brought him in, checked him out a little bit," Spurrier said. "He was a good player in his day, but whether his elbow and thigh have completely rehabbed [is unknown]."
Washington continues its conservative free agency approach after three offseasons of spending sprees left it just $1.7million under the salary cap. The Redskins seem willing to wait for free agent salaries to drop in coming weeks before filling vacancies on the interior of the offensive line, at receiver and at defensive tackle.
However, the Redskins could move soon to replace departed defensive tackle Kenard Lang. Washington is considering New York Jets defensive tackle Steve Martin and Miami defensive end Kenny Mixon. New England tackle Brandon Mitchell, who has received heavy interest leaguewide, appears too expensive. Martin could be expendable in New York, given the Jets' pursuit of Tennessee Titans defensive tackle Josh Evans. Mixon also is considering the Cincinnati Bengals and Minnesota Vikings.
Notes
Redskins linebacker Shawn Barber's visit to the Jets was canceled after New York signed former Buffalo Bills linebacker Sam Cowart. Barber said he still hopes to return to Washington but will visit the New York Giants on Monday.
"Everyone is still proceeding with the thought that I'll be here," Barber said. "This is my boyhood team. I want to retire here."
Center Cory Raymer visited the San Diego Chargers yesterday; Houston canceled a meeting with him. The Texans will meet with Alexander tomorrow.



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