- The Washington Times - Friday, December 30, 2005

Quarterback Mark Brunell practiced for a second straight day on his ailing right knee and should be ready to start tomorrow when the Washington Redskins attempt to clinch their first playoff berth since the 1999 season with a victory over at the Philadelphia Eagles.

“I’m getting close, but I’m not 100 percent,” Brunell said. “I would sure like another day or two … but each day it has gotten better so I’m pleased. I expect to be able to do everything on Sunday.”

Brunell sprained the medial collateral ligament in the knee when he was sacked by New York linebacker Nick Greisen in the third quarter of the Redskins’ 35-20 triumph over the Giants a week ago today.

Cornerback Shawn Springs returned yesterday after missing two days with the ailing groin that he first hurt on Dec. 11 at Arizona.

“I’m not fine, but I’m playing,” Springs said.

So is defensive end Renaldo Wynn, even though he missed a third straight practice with the strained arch he suffered against the Giants.

“It hurts, but I’ll be there on Sunday,” Wynn said.

Rookie cornerback Carlos Rogers took some work for the first time since tearing a muscle in his left biceps against the Cardinals. Rogers is listed as questionable but remains unlikely to play despite his hopes.

“We’ve got nothing to lose,” Rogers said. “I feel like I can play. It’s a matter of whether it stiffens up on me or not tomorrow.”

Auld lang syne?

If the Redskins (9-6) are upset by the Eagles (6-9) and Dallas beats St. Louis later that night, tomorrow’s game will be the 269th and last of Washington guard Ray Brown’s record-breaking 20-year career.

“I didn’t think at all about it possibly being my last practice today because I’m intent on extending this season,” Brown said.

Brown, who plans to retire after the season, is one of just three current Redskins starters who don’t have contracts for 2006. The others are tight end Robert Royal and strong safety Ryan Clark.

Royal has started all but one game and has a career-high 18 catches. Clark missed three of the first five games with injuries but has started since and made the first two interceptions of his career, including the one that sealed the 17-10 victory over the Eagles on Nov. 5. That snapped Washington’s seven-game losing streak against Philadelphia.

“Every once in a while it flashes in the back of my mind that this could be the last time, but I’m not worrying about it,” Royal said.

“I’m not thinking about that stuff because we’re going to win and go to the playoffs,” Clark said.

Making history?

If three of the four teams with nine victories — Washington, Dallas, Kansas City and San Diego — win this weekend, the NFL will set a record for teams with 10 or more. Eleven teams already have reached that mark, two shy of the record set in 2003. If the Redskins and Cowboys both win tomorrow, it will be the first season since 1991 in which the archrivals have both won 10 games. That also happened in 1972, 1973, 1976, 1979, 1983 and 1985.

If Washington and Dallas win and Carolina loses, the Redskins and Cowboys would join the Giants in giving the NFC East three playoff teams for the first time since 1992. The Cowboys, Eagles and Redskins made it that year with Dallas winning the Super Bowl. The Giants, Eagles and Redskins qualified in 1990 with New York taking the title. The Cowboys, Eagles and Giants reached the postseason in 1981. The only two of those nine teams not to win at least one playoff game, the Eagles of 1981 and 1990, lost to the Giants and Redskins, respectively.

Older than Ray

Eagles punter Sean Landeta is the only NFL player older than Brown, who turned 43 on Dec. 12. Landeta will be 44 on Jan. 6.

Tomorrow’s game will be the 302nd of Landeta’s 21-year NFL career that has included stops with the New York Giants, the Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay, Green Bay and the Eagles. And Landeta played three season in the USFL before joining the Giants in 1985.

Only kickers Gary Anderson, Morten Andersen and George Blanda, receiver Jerry Rice, guard Bruce Matthews and ex-Redskins cornerback Darrell Green have played in more NFL games than Landeta.

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