- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 23, 2005

LaVar Arrington participated in full contact drills and is expected to play in the Washington Redskins’ preseason game against Pittsburgh on Friday night.

Arrington missed the first two weeks of training camp recovering from April knee surgery and began practicing in pads Aug.15.

“It’s time [to play] because he’s been cleared by the doctors and trainers to go full go,” linebackers coach Dale Lindsey said yesterday at Redskin Park. “We have not set a plan on how much we’re going to play him, but he’s going to play.

“He’s been a pleasant surprise the last two days. He looks like he’s back and looks like he’s ready to play. But it’s been two practices, so who knows what will happen.”

Since originally injuring his knee last September, Arrington has played in parts of only three games.

“We’ve been doing what the trainers and doctors say is the right way to do it,” Lindsey said.

Asked whether Arrington, who is not speaking to the media, has learned to be more patient this year, Lindsey said, “I would think so. I would hope so. And that’s hard to do when you’re a competitive person. All of us who have played and coached think we’re made out of steel and irreplaceable. But we find out very quickly we’re not.”

Defensive line coach Greg Blache said tackle Brandon Noble “probably” will play against Pittsburgh. Like Arrington, Noble (staph infection) returned to practice Aug. 15.

Dixon, Tuipala released

The Redskins released safety Tony Dixon and linebacker Joe Tuipala yesterday, leaving the roster at 86 players. The roster must be down to 72 by Tuesday — the NFL-mandated 65 plus seven exemptions for those who played in NFL Europe in the spring.

Dixon practiced Monday after missing most of camp with a hamstring injury and leaves five safeties in camp. If the Redskins keep four — Sean Taylor, Matt Bowen, Ryan Clark and Pierson Prioleau — the odd man out could be Omar Stoutmire.

Stoutmire, 31, missed the last 15 games of 2004 with a right ACL injury and was released by the New York Giants in the offseason. He was signed by the Redskins on July 29.

“I feel I can play a lot better than I have, but I feel like I’m doing OK,” he said. “I’m getting better the more familiar I get with the scheme and the system.”

Stoutmire said he returned to full health in late April and signed with the Redskins in part because cornerbacks coach DeWayne Walker was his secondary coach with the Giants for two seasons.

Not being ignored

H-back Chris Cooley, one of Patrick Ramsey’s favorite targets last year, has one reception for 16 yards through two preseason games. But coach Joe Gibbs isn’t concerned.

“He’s been in there for quite a bit of work,” Gibbs said. “Last week, I wouldn’t have dreamed David [Patten] would have 109 yards receiving because you’re not sure where the ball is going to go.

“In Chris’ case, he has a great rapport with Patrick and gets plenty of passes thrown his way. It just hasn’t worked out in the game where we’ve thrown to him.”

Cooley led the Redskins last year with six touchdown catches.

Injury report

Five Redskins sat out practice: Clark (knee), tight end Robert Royal (shoulder), punter Tom Tupa (back), cornerback Walt Harris (calf) and receiver Taylor Jacobs (toe).

Bowen (knee), offensive lineman Mark Wilson (back) and defensive lineman Nic Clemons (back) returned to practice.

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