- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 7, 2002

Renaldo Wynn starts at left defensive end for Washington. Marco Coleman does the same for Jacksonville. Last year, those roles were reversed, and their teams meet Sunday for the first time since Wynn and Coleman switched sides.

Clearly, this one is personal.

"This one was circled in permanent ink," Wynn said. "If we don't get this win, I'll be hearing it forever. I still have a house in Jacksonville, and I've got to go back there in the offseason and see all those guys. You can't let your boys have one up on you. I'll be going against my good friend [Jaguars offensive right tackle] Todd Fordham. We've been battling since college, and we used to go at it in practice every day. I'll probably give him a holler to say, 'Make sure that you get taped up because I'm bringing it baby.'"

With the 3-5 Jaguars mired in a four-game losing streak, Coleman just wants to win, whether it's against Central Florida, Jacksonville's Raines High School or the Redskins.

"It's never fun to lose, but I'm happy here," said Coleman, the Jaguars' defensive captain. "I still love all those [former Redskins teammates]. I'll be going head-to-head with [Washington offensive right tackle] Jon Jansen, and he's one of the guys I liked more than anybody else. It will be fun to play against those guys. As long as they're not playing us, I'm rooting for them. I was hoping I would be able to stay [in Washington even after he was cut in June], but that's the business. You can't have any hard feelings."

That lack of bitterness is something Wynn shares with Coleman.

"It wasn't a bitter end for me in Jacksonville," said the 28-year-old Wynn, the Jaguars' first-round pick in the 1997 draft and a five-year starter. "They had salary cap problems, and we knew the situation. Hopefully I'll get a warm welcome from the fans."

Jacksonville coach Tom Coughlin isn't the warm and fuzzy type, but he liked Wynn.

"Renaldo's a very good player and a great person to be around, a high-energy guy," Coughlin said. "He works his tail off. He's a team guy. We very much enjoyed having him here. [But] we were $21million over the salary cap."

The Redskins had to decide between Coleman and another expensive veteran end, Bruce Smith. Since Smith is a personal favorite of owner Dan Snyder, it was a no-brainer, especially with a new coaching staff that felt no loyalty to Coleman. Wynn also was five years younger and $2.4million cheaper. However, Coleman's former teammates know what he meant to the Redskins, who ended a six-year playoff drought as soon as he arrived in 1999.

"Marco was a great leader," cornerback Champ Bailey said. "I hated to see him go. I miss him. Marco was never complacent. He always got us pumped up. But if we started getting a little too silly, he would jump in and calm us down. As soon as he stepped in the door, he spoke out. He had been around. He knew what it took, and everybody respected him. Renaldo is a different guy. He's not as vocal as Marco was, but they both can play."

However, neither Wynn nor Coleman is playing that well this year. Coleman, who turns 33 next month, said he has been "nothing super." Wynn gave himself a "B-minus."

Coleman, the old head of a young defense, is showing the effects of 11 seasons as an NFL starter. In eight games, he has 25 tackles (10 solo) and two sacks. Compare that to 2000, his Pro Bowl year in Washington, when he had 65 tackles (51 solo) and 12 sacks.

"Marco would be the first one to tell you that some games are better than others, but I was very impressed with him when we brought him on board, and I certainly remain that way," said Coughlin, who praised Coleman's toughness, work ethic and leadership.

Wynn, who had 75 tackles (40 solo) and five sacks for the Jaguars, has 24 stops (16 solo) and no sacks in eight games for the Redskins. He has recorded 17 of those tackles in the four games since he overcame an aching knee last month.

"What I most like about Renaldo is his professionalism, the way he goes about his work," Redskins defensive line coach Ricky Hunley said. "He wasn't getting the job done [earlier], and I didn't know why. His knee was bothering him, but he wouldn't tell me. He has shown signs lately of all the things we expected. Renaldo's a good leverage player, really good with his hands. He's strong at the point of attack. I hope he keeps on that upswing."

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