- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 2, 2004

The Washington Redskins picked up a potentially valuable role player on their defensive line yesterday in end Phillip Daniels.

A lower-profile acquisition sandwiched between blockbuster trades for Mark Brunell and Clinton Portis and the opening of free agency today, Daniels could compete for a starting job at left end against Renaldo Wynn and certainly will be a part of the line rotation.

Daniels’ versatility — he can play both end spots, as well as slide inside on passing downs — and high character made the Redskins immediately interested when the Chicago Bears granted him permission to speak with other clubs two weeks ago.

“We think he’s the right kind of guy,” coach Joe Gibbs said. “He’s a notorious weight [room] workout guy. He’s a real worker. He’s a team guy. And also, he can play all the way across the defensive line, which is very important for us right now.”

Daniels, who turns 31 tomorrow, received a five-year, $11million contract that included a $3million signing bonus, NFL sources said. He was cut by Chicago on Monday in advance of a roster bonus that was due today.

Last season Daniels slumped to 21/2 sacks after recording as many as nine in 1999 and again in 2001. Part of his decreased production, however, might be attributed to a mediocre Bears defense that ranked last in the league in sacks per play.

“We had a lot of containment problems,” Daniels said. “I beat a lot of guys. But you’ve got to work together as a team. I know my stats will be a lot higher this year.”

In Washington, Daniels reunites with former Bears defensive coordinator Greg Blache, the current Redskins coordinator. NFL sources said Blache and the Redskins are targeting another Bear who is set to be cut in advance of a roster bonus this week, linebacker Warrick Holdman.

The Blache connection and Gibbs’ three Super Bowl rings convinced Daniels that Washington was the right fit.

“It was hard to take when the Bears told me they were going to release me,” Daniels said. “I was looking for a team that wanted to win. I feel like the Redskins are that team.”

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