- The Washington Times - Friday, August 6, 2004

Nagging injuries continue to plague the Washington Redskins, and with Monday’s exhibition opener creeping ever closer, the status of several projected starters remains up in the air.

Linebackers LaVar Arrington and Mike Barrow both missed practices yesterday with banged-up legs, and running back Clinton Portis joined them on the sidelines last night with a reoccurrence of the groin strain that kept him out of Thursday’s workout.

Of the three, Barrow’s injuries appears to be the most serious. He was unable to make it through yesterday morning’s practice at Redskin Park and needed to receive treatment on his left knee. An MRI taken yesterday afternoon revealed tendinitis in his knee, and team doctors plan to discuss his condition today before deciding whether Barrow will be cleared to play Monday against the Denver Broncos.

Portis participated in the morning workout but was held out of last night’s closed practice. Coach Joe Gibbs said he understands how much Portis wants to play against his old team but cautioned that the star running back may be wise not to push himself too hard at this stage of the preseason.

“He’s been around; he knows what it’s all about,” Gibbs said last night. “I’m sure if he goes out there, he’d want to look good. You don’t want to go out there slowed up.”

Arrington skipped both of yesterday’s workouts with what he referred to as hematoma and club officials are calling a bruised left shin. The three-time Pro Bowl player got leg-whipped Thursday and is still feeling the effects.

“It’s sore,” Arrington said. “I’ve been fighting a little sprained ankle, and the bruise spread to my shin. … It’s just a little nagging injury. I’ll be OK.”

Meanwhile, defensive end Phillip Daniels (abdominal strain) and offensive guard Randy Thomas (swollen knee) again missed practice yesterday and remain uncertain for the Hall of Fame Game.

Asked last night when the two veteran starters would be ready to return, Gibbs said Daniels “is probably going to be awhile.”

Nose tackle Brandon Noble, who broke his right hand Tuesday night, is expected to miss a couple more days but may be given the green light to play Monday. Cornerback Rashad Bauman missed last night’s practice with a strained hamstring.

Dress rehearsal

Last night’s practice, once again held at an area high school and closed to all but a small group of beat reporters, gave Gibbs an opportunity to run his team through some game-type situations.

The Redskins treated the 70-minute workout as though it was a complete, four-quarter game, going through their regular pregame routine, running the full offense against the full defense, taking a break at halftime and working on substitutions.

“We were trying to simulate, organizationally, what we’re going to do to get the players used to that before we get up there Monday night,” Gibbs said. “… It’s like starting all over again.”

Rodgers retires

Pepper Rodgers, the Redskins’ vice president of football operations, retired yesterday after four years with the club.

A successful Division I college coach in the 1960s and 1970s and later in the USFL and CFL, Rodgers was a close advisor to Dan Snyder, particularly during the owner’s early days running the franchise. His role diminished over the last few years, though, particularly after Gibbs returned to serve as coach and team president.

“I’ve had a [heck] of a run,” said Rodgers, 72. “Growing up in Atlanta when we were all Redskins fans makes it especially sweet to end my career with the team.”

Extra points

Yesterday’s decision by agent Jeff Moorad to leave his practice and become CEO of the Arizona Diamondbacks represented yet another odd chapter in Sean Taylor’s brief NFL career. The Redskins’ rookie safety had his seven-year, $18 million contract negotiated by Moorad last week, then days later fired the agent when Taylor reportedly decided he did not get a good enough deal. Taylor is expected to re-hire Drew Rosenhaus to represent him. …

Gibbs said he hasn’t decided yet who will start at H-back on Monday night. Mike Sellers has been practicing with the first-string offense but is battling an ankle injury. Veteran Brian Kozlowski and third-round draft pick Chris Cooley are also in the running. …

Gibbs also wouldn’t say how long he intends to leave his starters in against the Broncos. NFL coaches typically pull the first team after two or three offensive series in the first week of the preseason.

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