- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 11, 2005

Give Washington Redskins linebacker Joe Tuipala a thumbs-up for being honest about his chances of making the final roster.

“It’s definitely an uphill climb,” he said. “But I knew that going into this thing. It’s a challenge, but I’m not somebody that gives up easily.”

Out of the NFL last year and on Jacksonville’s injured reserve list in 2003 because of a preseason shoulder injury, Tuipala, 28, signed with the Redskins in January and played for Cologne of NFL Europe this spring. He is working at outside linebacker, but his best chance to make the roster is in a special teams role.

“I was thinking about officially hanging up the cleats before the Redskins called,” Tuipala said. “I talked things over with my wife [Leah] and figured out that this was I wanted to do.”

Tuipala played at San Diego State and has played for or been in the training camps of New Orleans, Jacksonville, Detroit, Barcelona, Cologne and the XFL’s Las Vegas Outlaws, where he was an all-league selection.

He stuck with the Jaguars for the 2001 and 2002 seasons before suffering the shoulder injury.

“I hope something works out here, but at the same time, I’m auditioning for all of the other teams,” he said. “I feel like I was a good special teams player in Jacksonville, and it would be great to get that kind of shot here.”

Jacobs frustrated

This was supposed to be Taylor Jacobs’ breakout summer. Instead, the third-year receiver will miss the preseason opener for the second straight year after spraining his left big toe in Saturday’s scrimmage against Baltimore.

“It hurts mentally more than it does physically because I know what people expect me to do,” said Jacobs, who has only 19 catches in 23 NFL games. “This is the third straight summer I’ve been hurt. If it’s not one thing, it’s another.”

Jacobs missed last year’s preseason opener with an injured abdominal muscle, the same problem he suffered in the preseason finale as a rookie in 2003.

Next week for Noble?

Defensive tackle Brandon Noble, who hasn’t practiced in training camp because of a staph infection, said he expects to return to practice next week.

“I’m really close,” he said. “I’m doing everything I’m allowed to do. Luckily, I’ll have three games and plenty of time to get into game shape. It will take awhile and I’ll be behind everybody, but it will be good to get back on the field.”

Noble, linebacker LaVar Arrington, cornerbacks Carlos Rogers and Artrell Hawkins, safety Tony Dixon and Jacobs are out for tomorrow’s preseason opener at Carolina. Up in the air is cornerback Shawn Springs.

Coach Joe Gibbs said the next step for Arrington “is hitting things and exploding on things.”

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