- The Washington Times - Monday, August 22, 2005

Veteran cornerback Artrell Hawkins was placed on injured reserve by the Washington Redskins yesterday after missing all but the first two days of training camp with a pulled hamstring.

Hawkins, 28, was signed June23 with the idea he would be the only veteran in a group of backup corners that included top draft pick Carlos Rogers, Garnell Wilds, Ade Jimoh and Rufus Brown. With Hawkins done for the year, two of the three inexperienced holdovers should make the team.

Locals try to stick

Rich Parson and Jerome Nichols are not just battling long odds to make the Redskins as undrafted rookies, they’re also trying to make a team for which they have long rooted.

“I’ve been a Redskins fan my whole life,” said defensive tackle Nichols, 25, who graduated from Sidwell Friends and Wake Forest. “It was great being on the field [Friday at FedEx Field] instead of being in the stands where I’ve been a number of times. I feel like I belong, but I know it’s a numbers game.”

Parson knows he has virtually no shot of supplanting holdover Darnerien McCants (also a local product) as the last receiver.

“I’m struggling a little bit,” admitted Parson, who played at Maryland. “It’s lonely being a rookie, but I feel I’m making an impact on special teams. If I can make the practice squad, it would be great because I’ll be able to work against our defensive backs in practice.”

While Parson hasn’t caught a pass in preseason, he returned two punts for 4 yards in the opener at Carolina and returned two kickoffs for 40 yards and two punts for 15 yards Friday against Cincinnati. He had a 16-yard punt return wiped out by a penalty.

Nichols, who batted down Craig Krenzel’s pass on his first snap against the Bengals, is contending with fellow undrafted rookie Aki Jones and holdovers Ryan Boschetti (who has been making plays) and Cedric Killings for probably one backup job.

“Jerome comes from a system that’s totally different, so he has had a lot of habits to break, but he has come a long way in a short period of time,” defensive line coach Greg Blache said. “He’s got some athleticism. He’s smart. His biggest problem right now is the clock.”

In other words, Tuesday’s deadline to trim 15 players from the roster.

Portis returns

Running back Clinton Portis practiced yesterday after sitting out Friday with an inflamed elbow. Coach Joe Gibbs said he hopes Portis, who has just one carry in preseason, plays against Pittsburgh on Friday because “Clinton needs to get some good, hard, solid work.”

Offensive tackle Mark Wilson returned after missing last week with a strained back he suffered against the Panthers.

Although safety Tony Dixon practiced for the first time since he strained a hamstring Aug. 9, the injury-riddled secondary was still minus cornerback Walt Harris (calf) and safeties Matt Bowen (knee) and Ryan Clark (knee). Clark’s absence Friday was the first game he had missed in high school, college or the NFL.

Punter Tom Tupa, who sprained his back before Friday’s game, and defensive end Nic Clemons, who sprained his back against the Bengals, both were held out yesterday.

“Those backs are something you’re never sure how long it’s going to take,” Gibbs said.

Receiver Taylor Jacobs jogged for the first time since spraining his left big toe in the Aug. 6 scrimmage at Baltimore. Jacobs could return next week.

Defensive end Melvin Williams, who received an undisclosed injury settlement when he was waived last week, was at Redskin Park with his left elbow heavily bandaged.

Staff writer Ryan O’Halloran contributed to this article.

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