- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Washington Redskins quarterback Patrick Ramsey yesterday expressed no frustration with the first-round selection of Auburn passer Jason Campbell, saying he believes coach Joe Gibbs’ proclamation that the top of the depth chart remains unaltered.

“It would affect [me] if Coach wasn’t saying, ‘We’re going to give you an opportunity to play this game and to lead our team,’ ” Ramsey said. “I don’t think in any way he would be saying that if he didn’t have confidence in me as the quarterback of this team. … Coach Gibbs has never given me any reason not to believe him.”

Meanwhile, fourth-string quarterback Tim Hasselbeck met with Gibbs to discuss his likely departure. Gibbs later indicated that Hasselbeck is free to seek a trade but the coach stopped short of saying Washington would cut Hasselbeck.

“Whatever [Hasselbeck’s and agent David Dunn’s] desires are, we’re just going to talk about it,” Gibbs said. “And we’ll try to do what’s best for the team and them, and we’ll be real sensitive to what they want.”

Although Ramsey met with Gibbs yesterday, the conversation actually dealt very little with the acquisition of Campbell. The coach and starting quarterback already had spoken extensively on the subject last week.

News of Washington’s interest in Campbell — reported first by ESPN.com following the Redskins’ trade for the 25th pick in the draft — forced Gibbs to address the subject with Ramsey. By yesterday, when the passer issued his first public comments following Campbell’s arrival, there wasn’t a tinge of unhappiness.

“Because I was aware of it, and because I talked to coach Gibbs about it, I wasn’t surprised,” Ramsey said. “I’m focusing on going out and playing well. The truth is, if I do that, then everything takes care of itself from that point forward.”

The scene was quite different in February 2004, when Ramsey emerged visibly shaken from a similar meeting with Gibbs regarding the impending trade for Mark Brunell. Although that day Ramsey said the right things, as well, yesterday he seemed unfazed.

“I feel confident in my ability to lead this team, and I feel confident about this team,” Ramsey said. “It’s a situation where I have every opportunity to go out and be successful. I’m just going to make the most of that.”

Campbell blossomed last season in leading the Tigers to a 13-0 record. He won over Redskins coaches with his size, athleticism, strong arm and ability to learn multiple offenses (he had four coordinators in four years at Auburn). In Washington, he is expected to spend at least one season learning from the bench.

The best-case scenario for the Redskins currently is playing out in San Diego, where the Chargers traded for 2004 fourth overall pick Phillip Rivers on draft day and then watched fourth-year pro Drew Brees enjoy a breakthrough season. Now San Diego has two standout quarterbacks and a year to figure out whom to keep.

“I like to look at it from that perspective and hope it happens that way,” Ramsey said with a laugh, though noting a key difference: Brees hadn’t been assured the starting job.

“[Knowing that] changes how you approach … even what I did today [in the offseason workout program],” Ramsey said. “It changes how you work, the way you approach things, the way you relate to your teammates. But it’s just as important to earn it — when we go out on the field, [to show] that you’re deserving of that distinction.”

Hasselbeck, 27, didn’t play last season after performing surprisingly well in the home stretch of the 2003 season. This spring Hasselbeck considered visiting several teams as a restricted free agent but ended up signing Washington’s tender offer. Yesterday he expressed appreciation for Gibbs being upfront and said he was upbeat.

“I’ve been the fourth guy before, and it didn’t mean that it was the end of my career,” Hasselbeck said. “The only way I know how to deal with this kind of stuff is to work real hard and trust that you’re a good enough player that you’ll end up getting an opportunity to play.”

Notes — John Steren, the attorney for former Redskins safety Ifeanyi Ohalete, said the trial involving Ohalete’s lawsuit against running back Clinton Portis has been postponed from May 6 to June 7. Ohalete is seeking $15,000 he says Portis owes him for uniform No. 26. Portis claims he doesn’t owe the money because Ohalete was cut before the payment was due. …

Maryland wide receiver Rich Parson and defensive back Ray Custis are among at least 12 undrafted rookies who have signed with the Redskins. The club will release the list today. Terrapins safety Chris Kelley, running back Sammy Maldonado, wide receiver Steve Suter and defensive end Kevin Eli are expected among the unsigned players trying out at this week’s rookie minicamp.

Staff writers David Elfin and Rick Snider contributed to this article.


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