- The Washington Times - Friday, January 14, 2005

Veteran offensive lineman Ray Brown will return for a 20th NFL season assuming he and the Washington Redskins can work out a deal in coming months, Brown said yesterday.

Brown, 42, had been leaning toward coming back after performing well in 13 starts last season. But he put off a formal decision, saying he wanted to talk things over with wife Ashley and their children. His family now supports his playing another year.

“They feel pretty good,” Brown said in a phone interview. “And this would be a good place to do it.”

Coach Joe Gibbs indicated several times in recent weeks that Washington would welcome back Brown, who will turn 43 before the end of the 2005 season. Brown showed little sign of his age while filling in at right tackle, where Jon Jansen was injured and Brown, traditionally a guard, hadn’t played since early in his career.

Despite playing a foreign spot and facing NFC East quality left defensive ends like Michael Strahan, Jevon Kearse and Greg Ellis, Brown was one of the top performers on Washington’s offensive line.

Brown likely would back up the guard and tackle positions in 2005. At guard, the Redskins have highly paid veteran Randy Thomas and 2003 third-round pick Derrick Dockery. At tackle, Jansen is coming back from a torn Achilles’ tendon and the club, according to Gibbs, is committed to restructuring Chris Samuels’ contract.

“Whatever my role, I’m willing to do it,” Brown said. “I don’t have much ego now as far as starting is concerned.”

Contract negotiations aren’t expected to begin anytime soon, according to agent Steve Baker, and any deal likely would be for one year. Brown said he probably won’t play next year if it’s not in Washington.

“I’m not etching that in stone, but if I played a 20th season I’d like it to be here,” he added.

Brown already is the oldest offensive lineman ever to play in the NFL. Additionally, last year he was the league’s third-oldest position player, behind Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Jerry Rice and San Diego Chargers quarterback Doug Flutie, neither of whom is sure to return.

Note — Agent Richard Katz said the Redskins have expressed interest in signing linebacker Lemar Marshall to a multi-year contract.

Marshall, the Redskins’ most significant restricted free agent, emerged as a solid contributor while starting 14 games for injured linebacker LaVar Arrington last season. A long-term deal is significant because Marshall, a former undrafted rookie, would trigger no compensation if he were tendered by the Redskins and signed away.

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