- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Despite their interest in acquiring a bona fide pass-rusher, the Washington Redskins lost the Hugh Douglas sweepstakes last night when the veteran defensive end signed with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Douglas, released earlier in the day by the Jacksonville Jaguars, commanded immediate interest from four NFL clubs, according to agent Drew Rosenhaus. Along with the Redskins and Eagles, Rosenhaus said he spoke with the Chicago Bears and New York Giants.

But Douglas wound up returning to Philadelphia, where he played from 1998 to 2002, agreeing to a one-year, $1million contract that includes incentives that could make the total deal worth $3.4million.

“Hugh desperately wanted to come back to Philadelphia,” Rosenhaus told the Associated Press last night. “He didn’t want to waste any time. He’s looking forward to getting back to the fans he loves so much.”

Upon learning of Douglas’ release by the Jaguars just one season after he signed a five-year, $27million contract, the Redskins contacted Rosenhaus to inquire about the three-time Pro Bowl player. A club source confirmed Washington’s interest in Douglas but said there were concerns about how much football the 33-year-old had left in him. He struggled in his one year in Jacksonville and through three preseason games had only four tackles and four quarterback pressures.

Though they were unable to sign Douglas, the Redskins’ pursuit of another big-name pass rusher two weeks after losing out to Chicago on sack master Adewale Ogunleye underscores the club’s continued desire to improve its defensive line.

Of Washington’s eight sacks through four preseason games, only one has come from a starting defensive lineman (Renaldo Wynn last week at St. Louis). The Redskins’ front four also has been plagued by injuries during training camp, with end Phillip Daniels (abdomen) and tackles Brandon Noble (knee, hand) and Cornelius Griffin (hip) all missing time in the last month.

The lack of a pass rush was evident in the 28-3 loss to the Rams. Quarterbacks Marc Bulger and Chris Chandler routinely sat back in the pocket and picked apart Washington’s secondary.

Arrington returns

LaVar Arrington was back in full pads yesterday after missing the last week and a half with a sprained knee. The linebacker, who sat out Washington’s last two games, participated in some early drills but was held out of the later portions of practice.

He emerged encouraged by his performance.

“I’m just excited to get back on the field,” Arrington said. “It felt like an eternity waiting to put my pads back on. I felt real well. I was moving around pretty good.”

The Redskins training staff hasn’t decided whether to clear Arrington to play in Friday’s preseason finale against Atlanta, but Arrington indicated he expects to be back on the field.

“If Phil Daniels plays, I’m playing,” he said jokingly. “Better yet, if Mike Barrow plays …”

Neither Daniels nor Barrow (knee) has been in uniform this preseason, though both could be back for the Falcons game. Daniels returned to practice yesterday; Barrow was held out.

Setback for Noble

While some of his teammates returned to the playing field yesterday, Brandon Noble was relegated to a baseball cap and shorts after his surgically repaired knee started acting up.

Noble, who tore his ACL and other ligaments during a preseason game last summer, had managed to make it through this year’s camp without experiencing too many lingering effects. He lined up for two series in Friday’s game but said the artificial turf at the Edward Jones Dome was tough on his knee.

“It got a little swollen, a little sore last week,” Noble said. “It’s going to happen from time to time. … I’ve been fortunate it hasn’t happened sooner. Four weeks into camp isn’t too bad, I guess. It’s just something you’ve got to keep an eye on now that things are starting to taper down.”

Noble hopes to be back in practice today and see some action against Atlanta.

Extra points

The Redskins officially announced their first round of cuts yesterday. Wide receiver Jonathan Brewer, linebacker Devin Lemons and offensive lineman Dwayne Morgan joined the 10 players whose release was known Sunday. The club must cut one more player before today’s 4 p.m. league deadline to pare its roster to 65 players (plus 11 exemptions for NFL Europe). …

Tackle Chris Samuels, who sprained his ankle during the first quarter of Friday’s game, today expects to remove the protective boot he has been wearing. It remains unlikely he will play this week, though. With top reserve Marcus Spriggs also out with a sprained ankle, sixth-round draft pick Jim Molinaro started at left tackle during practice yesterday. …

Wynn (toe) and linebacker Clifton Smith (elbow) also were held out of yesterday’s workout, though neither injury is considered serious.

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