- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Washington Redskins defensive end Renaldo Wynn is doubtful for tomorrow's game against the Dallas Cowboys, but cornerback Fred Smoot will start despite a bruised back.

Although Wynn worked out yesterday despite a strained groin and hoped to play, coach Steve Spurrier was pessimistic about his chances. Carl Powell would start for Wynn.

"I'm still trying to get back," Wynn said.

Smoot only jogged during practice but confirmed that he'll play after suffering a slight concussion and bruised back while breaking up a sideline pass during Sunday's 20-17 victory over St. Louis. However, Smoot returned to the game and said he wouldn't miss playing against Dallas because "point blank, it's about time we beat them."

Cornerback Darrell Green has made a startling recovery from a badly bruised hip against Dallas, but it's still questionable whether he'll play in his final game at Texas Stadium before retiring at season's end. Green jogged during practice but was in obvious discomfort while walking afterward.

Linebacker LaVar Arrington will play after missing practice with a sore knee.


Georgia on my mind

During NFL meetings in March, Spurrier was asked whether Dallas would be his pro version of Florida State, which was Spurrier's cross-state nemesis when he coached Florida.

"Hopefully, our Georgia. Hopefully. Hopefully. They're in our division. FSU's not in the SEC. It's a big game, but has no bearing on the conference championship," Spurrier said then.

Florida beat Georgia in 11 of 12 meetings under Spurrier, and the quote has since rekindled the rivalry between Dallas and Washington. Cowboys coach Dave Campo dismissed the Georgia slight, perhaps because Dallas has beaten Washington nine straight.

"I thought it was funny. That's something I might say in reverse," Campo said. "That was an interesting comment."

But Spurrier clarified his earlier remark, saying he didn't mean it to sound like a wisecrack.

"It wasn't funny it was just an honest answer," Spurrier said. "The question was when the Redskins play the Dallas Cowboys will that be a similar rivalry as Florida and FSU, and I said no because FSU is not in the Southeastern Conference. Cowboys and Redskins are in the same division. I said the team most similar is Georgia. They're Florida's biggest rival in my opinion. Cowboys seem to be the biggest rivals for us. I don't know what's funny about that."


Tale of two guards

Three months ago, Ross Tucker was trying to win the right guard job while Alex Sulfsted was subbing for left tackle Chris Samuels during the preseason. Now both are starting left guards, with Tucker playing for the Cowboys.

Sulfsted starts his second straight game after working as the backup left tackle. He still talks to Tucker regularly and can't believe they'll be on opposite sides.

"We still criticize each other and help each other out," Sulfsted said. "I remember when we played Dallas at home last year, Ross saw a guy in the walkway wearing a Dallas jersey. He hated Dallas so much he slammed the guy against the wall."

Dallas claimed Tucker off waivers when he was released by Washington to make room for guard Tre Johnson. Tucker starts his third straight game and is eager to continue the rivalry from the other side.

"I think just the nature of the rivalry itself gets everybody motivated," he said. "But, there's no doubt that last year with the Redskins, we were especially motivated to play the Cowboys because of having lost seven in a row. We were right in both games last year, but for whatever reason the Cowboys were able to pull it out."

Spurrier isn't worried over Tucker divulging the Redskins' secrets, although the former Princeton standout impressed Redskins teammates with his wide-ranging football knowledge.

"So many players switch teams now, I don't think there's too much Ross can tell them," Spurrier said.


Giving thanks

Linebacker Eddie Mason's Faith Foundation will provide 200 food baskets to needy Northern Virginia families today after feeding 250 people on Nov.18. The dinner at a Herndon church long has been a tradition among Redskins players, with Mason taking over in 2001.

"Every athlete has a responsibility to give back," Mason said. "If kids are coming up to you asking for your autograph, he's looking up to you in some way. We're not responsible to raise those kids, but we are responsible to have a positive image for those kids."

Mason is now organizing a Christmas toy drive for the Washington Hospital Center.

"There's a lot of people out there that need help," he said. "It can feel overwhelming at times, but you just have to push a little bit at a time."


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