- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Washington Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington will remain home for a second straight preseason game today when the club travels to St. Louis for tomorrow night’s contest against the Rams.

Arrington, sidelined with what is described as a mild sprain of his left knee, said he’s “getting better” and expressed a bit of frustration he didn’t get to practice and demonstrate his health.

“I felt like I was fine enough to prove to them that I could go,” Arrington said, “but they weren’t really trying to hear too much from me.”

Were this a regular-season game, Arrington maintained, he definitely would play. Instead, he again has to cope with the frustration of watching teammates play on television.

“It’s killing me right now,” Arrington said. “It’s got my nerves all bad. I’m trying to see the good in it, though. … Hopefully, I’ll get back next week, and they’ll give me some snaps in this last preseason game [Sept. 3 against the Atlanta Falcons].”

Also remaining home are linebacker Mike Barrow (knee), tight end Fred Baxter (knee), linebacker Chris Clemons (hamstring), defensive end Phillip Daniels (abdomen), cornerback Walt Harris (calf) and offensive lineman Dwayne Morgan (knee).

Harris, the projected No.3 cornerback, played only briefly in last weekend’s 17-0 victory at Miami. His calf, strained Aug.19 by “overcompensating” for a rehabilitating patella tendon, “didn’t feel good at all” against the Dolphins. Still, he plans to return to practice Monday.

Running back Ladell Betts, who has yet to play in a preseason game because of a strained hamstring, will make the trip, but coach Joe Gibbs didn’t know how many carries the third-year back would be able to take.

Betts, a 2002 second-round pick, is under increasing scrutiny because Washington’s other running backs have performed well in the race to back up Clinton Portis. Rock Cartwright, Sultan McCullough and John Simon are vying for the role.

Guard Randy Thomas was the only player not practicing yesterday who plans to play in St. Louis. He characterized his absence as a rest day for his knee.

Note — Portis presented the Redskins’ offensive linemen with “Official Dirtbags” T-shirts that feature a lineman knee-deep in muck with flies buzzing around and the slogan, “They’re stinkin’ huge.” The shirt also features a replica Portis signature.

Despite the “official” moniker, the shirts apparently will give way at some point to a version by assistant head coach for offense Joe Bugel, who named the original Hogs in the 1980s.

“It’s cool,” said tackle Kenyatta Jones, who was sporting the Portis version.

“I know Buges has a design that he wants to do, too. This is just the one we wear around here. This is just the appetizer.”


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