- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 12, 2004

The Washington Redskins formally re-signed Ifeanyi Ohalete yesterday, bringing the safety back for a fourth season even though he’s expected to lose his starting job to first-round draft pick Sean Taylor.

The Redskins tendered Ohalete a one-year, $628,000 contract in February. A restricted free agent, he was free to sign with other clubs but received no offer sheets before the league’s April16 deadline. The Redskins had said all along they would match any offers for their four restricted free agents.

Ohalete, like fullback Bryan Johnson, wide receiver Darnerien McCants and linebacker Antonio Pierce, received the lowest tender offer from Washington. An undrafted free agent out of USC in 2001, Ohalete would have brought no compensation had he signed with another team.

Ohalete started 15 games at strong safety last season, recording three interceptions, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. His days with the first-string defense have appeared numbered for some time, though, especially once the Redskins used the fifth pick in last month’s draft on Taylor. The rookie from Miami is expected to start at free safety, with Matt Bowen sliding over to take Ohalete’s place.

Ohalete has also been involved in a numbers controversy all spring. He has refused to give Clinton Portis his No.26 jersey, even turning down monetary offers from the newly acquired running back.

Taylor also wore No.26 at Miami but said at his introductory press conference that he would find a new number in Washington.

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