- The Washington Times - Friday, October 29, 2004

The Washington Redskins’ personnel swap at tight end fell through yesterday when the club came to an injury settlement with newly signed Fred Baxter.

Baxter, who spent training camp with the Redskins, re-signed last week after starter Walter Rasby was released. But Baxter’s knee wasn’t fully healthy and a hamstring strain this week proved too serious for Washington to wait on him.

“It was something that was going to be awhile,” coach Joe Gibbs said.

The team expects to sign a replacement next week but will play the Green Bay Packers tomorrow with only one true tight end, Robert Royal. Gibbs is confident one of his H-backs, particularly Brian Kozlowski or Mike Sellers, can handle the responsibilities at tight end.

The quick exit by Baxter, who conceded Monday his knee was only “80 to 85 percent” healthy, signaled that Washington might have made a hasty move in releasing Rasby. Rasby, who received a $400,000 signing bonus last spring, was cut after missing several blocks against Bears defensive end Alex Brown.



“You could second-guess almost everything we do,” Gibbs said. “But in that case, we felt like it was a smart thing to do at that time. Fred got hurt. We wish that hadn’t have happened. We’ll just deal with it now and make the best decision we can about finding somebody to fill that spot.”

According to Gibbs, the club saw no connection between Baxter’s lingering knee injury — he partially tore a tendon during the preseason — and this week’s hamstring setback.

“Our trainers felt bad about it because they thought he was 100 percent,” Gibbs said. “The day before, he ran like six 100 [yard dashes] out there. We thought he was in top-flight shape and ready to go. We had prior experience with him. We thought he could play special teams and all those things.”

Daniels probable

Defensive end Phillip Daniels was upgraded to probable after fully practicing for a second straight day and expressing confidence he is ready to return from a four-game absence.

Daniels wasn’t given official clearance to play but reiterated his strained groin has responded well all week to practice. The final go-ahead likely will come tomorrow morning when he’s evaluated before the game.

“I’ll see if I get any soreness or anything,” Daniels said. “I haven’t had any soreness so far. I’ll go and let them know Sunday morning how I feel.”

Daniels’ return could be significant against the NFC’s leading rusher, Ahman Green. Although Ron Warner and Demetric Evans have played well at right end, Daniels is powerful at the point of attack and a disciplined run-stopper.

Meanwhile, linebacker Mike Barrow remained doubtful. For the Packers, quarterback Brett Favre practiced and reputedly performed well despite his sprained hand. Cornerback Al Harris (knee) appears likely to play, but free safety Darren Sharper (knee) is much less certain.

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