- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 23, 2003

For Rob Johnson, it was time. And soon it might be time for … you know who.

Washington Redskins coach Steve Spurrier yesterday explained his decision to release backup quarterback Johnson, then said if replacement Tim Hasselbeck isn’t up to speed next week the team could bring in Danny Wuerffel.

Regarding Johnson, Spurrier wasn’t available to comment Wednesday after cutting his only backup to Patrick Ramsey.

“We just thought we upgraded our team at the quarterback position,” Spurrier said yesterday.

Asked how someone who hasn’t thrown an NFL pass could be an upgrade, he replied, “We thought he could play a little better than Rob, simple as that.”

In truth, Spurrier never meshed with Johnson — a fact Johnson acknowledged on his way out Wednesday afternoon. And Spurrier seemed to acknowledge it yesterday, too, when he said, “We just thought it was time to move in another direction at that position.”

Hasselbeck has a huge task in trying to learn the Fun’n’Gun in a week. He’s staying in town during the bye weekend to study in anticipation of Washington’s next game Nov.2 at Dallas.

If his adaptation stalls, the Redskins could call Wuerffel, a Spurrier favorite that most NFL talent evaluators feel isn’t capable of playing at an NFL level.

Before the season started, Wuerffel appeared in line to be Ramsey’s backup ahead of Johnson. But Washington’s personnel department believed he should have been cut, and owner Dan Snyder sided with vice president of football operations Vinny Cerrato and released Wuerffel.

Now Wuerffel could return.

“If we believe that we need Danny here, we’ll certainly try to get him here,” Spurrier said. “I don’t know if Danny wants to come. I think his wife’s pregnant and expecting a baby real soon. So he may be set doing what he’s doing in his ministry down in New Orleans.

“But it may be something that we explore, in terms of having a guy who’s played in the system in case something happened to Patrick. We’ll explore it, but I don’t know if it will work out or not. We’ll have to see.”

An official in the Redskins’ personnel department said re-signing Wuerffel would not be ruled out, as long as any return was on a short-term basis.

Washington also could promote rookie Gibran Hamdan from the practice squad. Of Hamdan, Spurrier said, “Gibran has been with us a long time. If he’s better equipped to be number two, he may be it.”

Notes — Guard Derrick Dockery (shoulder) and center Larry Moore (back) were surprise additions to an extensive list of players who sat out a brief practice. Spurrier said both should be fine next week. … Tight end Zeron Flemister appeared to work ahead of Byron Chamberlain, who had no catches and blocked poorly in his first start Sunday at Buffalo. … Cincinnati picked up defensive end Ladairis Jackson, whom the Redskins cut this week to make room for defensive end Ron Warner.

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