- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 24, 2003

If the Washington Redskins decide to re-sign Darrell Russell this offseason, they will do so without seeing the defensive tackle on the field much.

Russell, the troubled ex-Oakland Raider who was signed in late October to a prorated, one-year contract worth about $790,000, has seen little action in his eight games with the Redskins. His two tackles Sunday in Chicago gave him four for the season (three solo).

A one-time Pro Bowl player in Oakland, Russell said he will give Washington first-crack at re-signing him this offseason. But he doesn’t feel he’s had ample opportunity to show the Redskins his worth. By his calculations, he was on the field for only 22 plays Sunday, 17 the week before.

“I thought they had plans for me,” he said. “If anything, it seems like my play has decreased as we’ve gone along.”

Russell’s lack of playing time has him questioning just how interested Washington is.

“Whether I’m coming back or not is not really the question. It’s, ‘Do they want me back?’” he said. “From the looks of things, I don’t know if they see there’s enough room to even have me on the team.”

Journeyman Bernard Holsey has started all 15 games at defensive tackle this season, leaving Russell on the bench the last eight weeks.

Coach Steve Spurrier refused to discuss Russell’s future with the team until after the season. But asked about the tackle’s playing time, Spurrier replied, “He’s played about as much as we think he needs to play.”

End of the road

Saturday night’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles probably will mark the end of Bruce Smith’s playing career. The future Hall of Famer isn’t approaching it that way, though.

“I’m not even thinking about that — I’m thinking about Philadelphia,” Smith said. “I’ll think about that when it’s done. Until then, it’s not done.”

The 40-year-old defensive end said he will “in all likelihood” retire after this season, though he has yet to make it official. Two weeks after breaking the NFL sack record, Smith recorded another one in Chicago, the 200th of his career.

“It is a nice, round number,” he said. “It’s rather catching, as opposed to 199. That sounds like you’re getting something at a discount.”

The Redskins will honor Smith’s achievement during halftime of Saturday’s game. Former Sen. Jack Kemp, a one-time quarterback for the Buffalo Bills, will lead a ceremony during which Smith will be presented with a life-size plaque (designed in his form) that outlines highlights of his 19-year career.

Hasselbeck thanks Reid

Tim Hasselbeck should have every reason to seek revenge against the Philadelphia Eagles this weekend. This is the team, after all, that cut him twice in the past. Hasselbeck, though, made it abundantly clear yesterday he holds no ill will toward the Eagles or coach Andy Reid.

“I can’t tell you that I had anything but an unbelievable experience with them,” said Hasselbeck, who spent the last two preseasons in Philadelphia. “I would not still be playing football if Andy Reid never gave me a chance. For whatever reason, he played me a bunch in the preseason. He had three quarterbacks that he knew were going to make his team, but he’d always play me a quarter and keep me through to the last cut.

“I owe a lot to Coach Reid. I mean it, I’d be doing something else if he didn’t give me an opportunity.”

Extra points

Though he sat out practice yesterday while recovering from a concussion, cornerback Champ Bailey insisted he will play Saturday, no matter what doctors tell him.

“I haven’t gotten the OK to play, but I don’t think I need that,” Bailey said. “I’m not asking for it. I’ll be out there one way or the other.” …

Spurrier said fullback Rock Cartwright will make his third straight start at tailback with Trung Canidate (foot) and Ladell Betts (forearm) still out. …

Safety Ifeanyi Ohalete was placed on injured reserve yesterday with a sprained knee. Defensive end Ron Warner, who spent two weeks on the Redskins’ roster earlier this season, was re-signed to take Ohalete’s place on the roster. Spurrier said safety Todd Franz will join Matt Bowen in the starting lineup Saturday.

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