- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 10, 2002

Washington kicker Brett Conway walked out of Redskin Park after yesterday's team meeting with a torn right quadriceps and the strong possibility that he'll be replaced by James Tuthill on the active roster when the Redskins return to practice on Thursday.

"The MRI shows a lot of tears, probably the worst I've had," said the 27-year-old Conway, clutching the envelope containing the bad medical news. "The hardest thing is finding out why this keeps happening. My hip (which kept him out of the final three preseason games) is coming along fine. But I was putting pressure on myself to get ready by the first game and I might have overcompensated and affected the quad.

"Every time it happened in the past I was kicking a lot. Why it happened on the first field goal on Sunday I have no idea. I've got a lot of emotions going on right now. I've had some great times here. Eventually, you're going to have step down and not kick anymore. This might be it."

It's not the end of the line for another long-time Redskin, but Pro Bowl running back Stephen Davis might be more seriously injured than was conveyed after the game. Davis limped to his car favoring his strained groin yesterday and declined to answer questions other than to say he'll start in Monday's NFC East showdown with defending division champion Philadelphia.

Coach Steve Spurrier said the coming two days off would give Davis enough time to heal in order to get back on the practice field on Thursday.Meanwhile, Spurrier said Conway, the kicker in 37 of Washington's past 51 games, would be out "quite awhile" and would likely go on season-ending injured reserve.

Keeping Conway on the 53-man roster is even more difficult because the Redskins already are carrying two injured players, tight end Walter Rasby and linebacker Antonio Pierce.

Conway came to Washington as a kickoff specialist on Nov.[ThSp]13, 1998 after stops with Green Bay and the New York Jets. The Redskins placed Conway on IR with a similar quadriceps injury on Sept.[ThSp]20, 2000 before waiving him when he recovered. He finished out that season with Oakland and the New York Jets before rejoining Washington last year.

Tuthill made his only field-goal attempt and all four extra-point tries in Washington's last two preseason games after being signed off waivers from Houston on Aug. 21. Tuthill, who missed both his preseason field goal tries for the Texans, was in camp with San Francisco the two previous summers. He was with Green Bay for a game last year but didn't play and was under strong consideration in Minnesota after a tryout last week.

Tuthill, whom the Redskins released on Sept. ]1 after Conway showed good leg strength that morning in his first post-hip injury test, was summoned back to Washington yesterday. He has yet to be re-signed. The Redskins might still hold tryouts today or tomorrow from among a group that includes ex-Dallas kickers Tim Seder and Jon Hilbert and former Indianapolis kickoff specialist Danny Kight, but Tuthill still seems the likeliest option. "There's a good chance that Tuthill will be our kicker," Spurrier said.

Huge for a kicker at 6-foot-2, 250 pounds, Tuthill played at Cal Poly before spending 1999 with San Jose of the Arena League. The 26-year-old played for the Rhein Fire of NFL Europe in 2000. He made just 51 percent of his field goals in college and had three tries blocked in a Rhein game.

"James is a good kicker," Conway said. "He's great on kickoffs. He's got a very strong leg. He just needs some experience and he'll be good."Conway said the pain in his quadriceps was "excruciating" as Sunday's game went on. He tried to get hang time and squib another one of his botched second half kickoffs before the coaches decided he was done. That's when Shane Matthews volunteered fellow quarterback Danny Wuerffel to serve as Conway's replacement on the final kickoff after team sources said punter Bryan Barker - the obvious choice - declined to fill that role.

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