- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Washington Redskins safety Matt Bowen made the biggest hit of training camp to date. Coach Steve Spurrier then made sure that it would remain so.

Bowen leveled running back Trung Canidate as the latter sped up the sideline yesterday morning, and Spurrier wasn’t happy about it. The coach told the aggressive newcomer that such hits, even with full pads on, aren’t tolerated in this system.

“We had a hit today that we don’t like,” Spurrier said. “We’re out here trying to protect each other. Hopefully that’s the end to it. Sometimes those things happen, but you’ve got to put an end to it quickly.”

The play came in full-squad drills with Bowen playing his deep middle position and Canidate coming out of the backfield. Canidate was moving quickly up the right sideline and appeared focused on cornerback Champ Bailey, who was in man coverage being blocked by wide receiver Rod Gardner.

The sky was the next thing Canidate saw, as Bowen’s shoulder-high hit knocked him flat on his back. The crowd cheered, the defense was inspired for the rest of practice, and afterward players generally focused on the positive aspects of the hit.

“You have to set the tone,” cornerback Fred Smoot said. “We plan to be one of the physical teams, and you’ve got to practice physical. That’s what we’ve been doing for the past three days. I love it.”

Bowen acknowledged that he is trying to be physical but apologized for hitting Canidate so hard.

“You’ve got to play smart,” Bowen said. “No hard feelings toward Trung. I didn’t mean to knock him down; I didn’t mean to hurt him. I was just playing the game.”

Canidate didn’t seem angry, saying, “I wasn’t ready for it, but it happens. We were both playing football.”

Bowen has been impressive ever since Washington pried the restricted free agent from Green Bay on a four-year, $5.9million contract. After mostly being a backup with the Packers, he seems ready to step into the Redskins’ starting lineup.

Walls to work out

The Redskins aren’t looking to upgrade their tight end corps but will work out veteran free agent Wesley Walls today, NFL sources said.

The position is unproven with fourth-year veteran Zeron Flemister slated to start and Robert Royal, Leonard Stephens and rookie Kevin Ware competing for backup time. Flemister has a tendency to run hot and cold but has looked solid so far, and the club isn’t scrambling to sign anyone.

Walls, 37, was released by Carolina in February in an expected salary cap move. The Panthers’ all-time touchdowns leader (44) has played in five Pro Bowls and has four seasons with more than 50 catches. However, last season he had just 19 in a system that emphasized blocking by the tight ends.

Sources said Walls already has an offer on the table from Tampa Bay, where he worked out last week. He also is scheduled to be in Green Bay in coming days and hopes to make a decision by Saturday.

Injury update

Linebacker LaVar Arrington’s big toe was stepped on by wide receiver Laveranues Coles in the afternoon practice. Arrington appeared in pain but later said he would be ready for this morning’s practice.

“It hurt,” Arrington said. “It still hurts. But I’m all right, though.”

Tackle Rod Jones was in great pain, too, when he sprained his ankle in the morning. He was in a protective boot for the remainder of the day and will not practice today. Jones also has turf toe.

Running back Ladell Betts sat out with a sprained left elbow and will be out for a few days. Cornerback Rashad Bauman sprained his shoulder and will be out at least today. Offensive lineman Tre Johnson remained out with a sore Achilles’ tendon.

Two more players underwent precautionary treatment for heat-related symptoms: Smoot and defensive end Ladairis Jackson. Both missed the afternoon practice. Earlier in the week, guard Randy Thomas and linebacker Kevin Mitchell underwent similar treatments; both were back on the field yesterday, but Mitchell then sprained his right thumb. He’ll be back today.

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