- The Washington Times - Monday, December 19, 2005

In the final two regular-season games of his 20-year career, Ray Brown will be playing a prominent role in the Washington Redskins’ playoff push.

Brown, 43, will start at right guard Saturday against the New York Giants in place of Randy Thomas, who sustained a broken right leg in Sunday’s 35-7 victory over Dallas.

Brown, who is expected to retire after the season, has played primarily in goal-line situations — the first time since 1992 he hasn’t been a starter.

“I’ve prepared myself as a starter, and now I get an opportunity for it,” he said yesterday at Redskin Park. “What I do with it and how I perform is going to be the key.

“I just happen to be a 20-year veteran who’s filling in for a guy who has been playing well. That’s how I have to look at it. I know the big story will be this cat who is 43 years old and playing in the NFL. I laugh at it, too. I’m going to enjoy it.”

Saturday will be Brown’s 260th game and 204th start. He started 14 games at right tackle last year when Jon Jansen suffered an Achilles tendon injury.

“Ray’s been through it all, seen it all and pretty much done it all, and that takes the worries away from you instead of having a rookie or young guy coming in,” center Casey Rabach said. “We’ll obviously miss Randy, but we have no concern about putting Ray in there.”

The Redskins’ offensive line has stayed healthy all season. Thomas’ absence will be the first game missed by any of the five starters.

Brown’s career path has been well documented. He played for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1986 and was stowed away on injured reserve by the Redskins in 1990 and 1991. He played the next four seasons with the Redskins, then six years with San Francisco and two with Detroit before returning to Washington last season.

Thomas underwent surgery last night and was to have two screws inserted to aid the healing process. He faces six weeks in a cast and six to eight weeks of rehabilitation.

The Redskins will place Thomas on injured reserve, and coach Joe Gibbs said a player would be promoted from the practice squad. The offensive linemen on the practice squad are Jon Alston and Ikechuku Ndukwe.

Injury update

Director of sports medicine Bubba Tyer said linebacker LaVar Arrington (thigh) “should be ready to play [Saturday]. He had a good workout [yesterday] and has better range of motion.” Arrington has missed the last two games.

Receiver James Thrash (hamstring), out since being injured against Oakland on Nov. 20, is expected to return against the Giants. Cornerback Carlos Rogers (torn biceps) is unlikely to play, and safety Matt Bowen (bruised knee) has a chance to return.

Running back Clinton Portis has a lower back bruise and was kicked in the shin but will play against the Giants.

Pierce unlikely to play

Giants middle linebacker Antonio Pierce, who led the Redskins with 60 tackles last season, is listed as “week to week” by coach Tom Coughlin because of an ankle injury sustained against Philadelphia. He missed Sunday’s game against Kansas City.

Pierce is second on the Giants with 99 tackles and was replaced by rookie Chase Blackburn, who had nine tackles against the Chiefs.

Extra points

H-back Chris Cooley said his voice mail was packed after his three-touchdown game Sunday. “I usually get one, two calls after a game, but I think every friend, every guy I played with in college called. It was cool for me because a lot of my friends got to watch the game on national television,” he said. …

In the final moments of Sunday’s game, the FedEx Field sound system blared the Willie Nelson song, “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys.” Gibbs waved for the music to be turned off and said yesterday, “We want to win the right way, and when you lose, you want to lose the right way. You don’t want to be a team that does that.” …

Even though the Redskins have a short week, Gibbs gave the players yesterday and today off, primarily to allow the coaching staff their regular two days of preparation.

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