- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 20, 2003

The Washington Redskins should know today whether starting quarterback Patrick Ramsey will be able to play with an injured foot Sunday night or whether backup Tim Hasselbeck will make his first career start.

Ramsey, who has a bone bruise in his right foot, missed practice again yesterday and realistically would need to suit up today to have a chance of playing against the Miami Dolphins.

“I’m going to try to practice tomorrow,” said Ramsey, who has not done so all week. “I’d really like to practice tomorrow if I’m going to be able to play on Sunday.”

Though the Redskins technically can wait until game time at Pro Player Stadium to name their starting quarterback, they will have to make a decision before then. NFL rules prohibit any roster additions after 4 p.m. Saturday, and if Ramsey can’t play, Washington would need to sign rookie Gibran Hamdan off the practice squad to back up Hasselbeck.

That makes this a make-or-break day for Ramsey. If he’s unable to practice, the Redskins can’t afford to wait and see how his foot progresses over the weekend without taking the chance of having one active quarterback for Sunday’s game. Coach Steve Spurrier said the club won’t sign Hamdan off the practice squad unless it has to.

“Hopefully, [Ramsey] can do a little bit tomorrow, but if not, we’ll have Tim ready to go,” Spurrier said. “But I think Pat’s still planning on playing.”

Indeed, Ramsey continues to hold out hope that he can make his 14th straight start with the Redskins, dating to last December. He remains hopeful even though he once again watched practice in sweats yesterday and continued to hobble around with a protective boot on his right foot.

Ramsey, who doctors say aggravated an old fracture of the fifth metatarsal, did some light tossing on the side yesterday and then hunkered down inside the training room at Redskin Park for a long night of treatment.

“I’m going to stay in here all evening,” he said. “We’re just going to try a bunch of things to see if we can make it feel better to play.”

In his second NFL season and first as a full-time starter, Ramsey has won over coaches, teammates and fans with his durability and toughness. He’s been sacked 29 times this year, tied for second-most in the league, and has battled a litany of minor injuries ranging from a bruised shoulder to a dislocated finger.

Ramsey’s grit, though, may not be enough to overcome this injury, which the quarterback appears to have had for years. He’ll be cleared to play only if the team believes he can make it through the entire game; Spurrier said he won’t consider rotating Ramsey and Hasselbeck to keep his starter fresh.

“If Patrick’s playing and his foot was bothering him, we’d make a change,” Spurrier said.

With Ramsey relegated to bystander, Hasselbeck has taken all of the snaps the last two days in practice. The recently signed 25-year-old never has started a game and has thrown only three passes in his NFL career, but Spurrier said he’ll run the same game plan with Hasselbeck as he would with Ramsey.

“Our game plan is in place now,” Spurrier said. “Patrick’s been to all the meetings, but he hasn’t practiced it yet. So Tim is ready to play. … Tim knows what to do. He can catch it and hand it off and throw it, and I think he’ll play well if he is our quarterback this week. I think Tim will perform admirably.”

Hasselbeck, whose brother Matt is the starting quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks, is approaching this week just as he does every other: as though he’s going to play.

“Whether Patrick is healthy enough to go and play the whole game, whether he’s in and then comes out, whatever the situation is, I just need to be ready to play,” Hasselbeck said. “That’s my role.”

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