- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 31, 2002

Wide receiver Willie Jackson became a free agent by clearing waivers yesterday and, according to NFL sources, is very likely to sign today with the Washington Redskins.

Jackson, a former Florida Gator who caught 81 passes for 1,046 yards for New Orleans in 2001, is scheduled to be at Redskin Park today. Provided he passes a physical, he is expected to sign a contract for the minimum base salary.

No teams put in waiver claims for Jackson, who was cut by Atlanta after reportedly being upset because he was a reserve. He could have been obtained on waivers for his scheduled minimum salary, but a team claiming him would not have been able to take the veterans' salary cap credit.

By signing Jackson today rather than claiming him, the Redskins would save about $106,000 against the cap.

Jackson should be able to contribute fairly quickly, having caught 18 passes for 199 yards as a Falcon this season and knowing coach Steve Spurrier's offense from Florida.

Spurrier is comfortable with Rod Gardner and Derrius Thompson as his top two wideouts, but he has shuffled the corps frequently. The playing time of young Darnerien McCants, who had three catches for 49 yards and a touchdown in his first NFL action Sunday, probably would be reduced by Jackson's arrival.

Also, the Redskins likely would cut one receiver. Veteran Kevin Lockett, who started two games earlier this month, was inactive last week and would be the apparent top candidate to be released.

Back to Carlisle?

Training camp could return to Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa., next year after all.

The Redskins are supposed to notify Dickinson officials tomorrow whether they'll return for a third straight summer. Spurrier said he is "neutral" after expressing doubt in July over the value of training away from Redskin Park.

Team sources said Spurrier has the final decision on camp's location. A meeting with department heads is expected as soon as today. Some officials already have told Spurrier they'd prefer to stay at Redskin Park.

"I enjoyed it up there. It would be fine for me either way," Spurrier said. "We'll try to look at the logistics of what's best, whatever we think is best for our organization."

If the Redskins leave Carlisle, they will train privately at their Ashburn, Va., facility with occasional public workouts at FedEx Field. Team officials have said they won't repeat the 2000 camp, when fans paid $10 to attend practice.

Davis, Samuels improve

Running back Stephen Davis did not practice yesterday but his injured knee was feeling "a little better." Left tackle Chris Samuels participated in a good portion of practice and remains on course to play Sunday at Seattle.

Davis has a sprain or strain where his hamstring attaches to the outside of his knee. An MRI on Monday showed that it isn't a serious injury, and sources familiar with the test expected him to be able to play. However, he said his participation in practice today remains in doubt.

"I'm still sore," Davis said. "It's still hurting me a bit. It's a day-to-day thing. Today it got a little better, but not that much. Hopefully, it will get a lot better by the weekend."

Samuels was held out of the contact portion of practice, but he and line coach Kim Helton were optimistic about his status.

"It felt pretty good," Samuels said. "Little sore still, but it felt pretty good overall."

Guard Brenden Stai tested his knee by running on the side. Last week his knee did not respond well to a similar test, and he was sidelined the rest of the week. Thus, his condition today will be significant.

Regardless, Helton is preparing to start Wilbert Brown again at right guard and use Tre Johnson and Stai as reserves.

"I don't see Brenden being in the picture as a starter possibility in this game, unless there was just some miraculous improvement," Helton said. "I think that he's coming along, so that could mean he's in a support situation. We'll see how it goes."

Reunited

The Redskins are eager to face the quarterback who started seven games for them in 2000 and 2001.

Jeff George, the newest Seahawk, will be in uniform but probably not play Sunday. He had been out of the league for more than a year after being cut in Week 3 last season by then-coach Marty Schottenheimer.

The enduring memory of George in Washington is him getting dragged across the Texas Stadium turf in 2000 by Ebenezer Ekuban and none of his teammates coming to his aid.

"He taught me a lot," cornerback Fred Smoot said. "He's a people person. I love risk-takers [like George]. I'm a gambler. That's what makes all-stars."

But tackle Jon Jansen smiled when asked if he would like to play defensive tackle against George, and said, "I've got no comment on that."


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