- The Washington Times - Friday, June 24, 2005

There was none of the contact he loves about football, but as the Washington Redskins opened their veteran minicamp yesterday at Redskin Park, right tackle Jon Jansen couldn’t have been happier.

“I’m just excited to be back with the guys and having fun,” said Jansen, whose 2004 season ended with a torn Achilles’ tendon in the preseason opener Aug. 9. “Football is what I love to do. To have that taken away for a year was definitely upsetting.”

Not having Jansen, who hadn’t missed even a practice during his first five seasons, certainly upset the Redskins.

“We missed Jon,” coach Joe Gibbs said. “When that injury happened, it took quite a lot away from us. You’ve got some real leaders on team, people who mean a lot in the locker room. Certainly Jon’s one of those guys.”

Jansen’s popularity with his teammates was evident during his press conference yesterday as fellow linemen Ray Brown and Cory Raymer teasingly heckled him from the weight room door.

“Ray did a great job [filling in last year], but Jon is the Redskins’ right tackle,” right guard Randy Thomas said. “It’s good to have Jon next to me to get that togetherness again.”

The Achilles’ is 100 percent, but Jansen hasn’t forgotten what it was like to be hurt. And he’s pretty sure when he truly will feel he’s back.

“Probably the first day of training camp, when I get to put the pads back on and I get to really feel what it is to be a football player again,” Jansen said. “I enjoy the contact, the physicalness of the game. To be away from that for so long, you really do miss it.”

Barrow on sidelines

Long-ailing Micheal Barrow’s hopes of getting back on the field were delayed again when the 35-year-old middle linebacker wasn’t cleared to practice. Barrow, who hurt his right knee almost 11 months ago and missed all of last season, ran on the side and did agility drills under the eyes of the Redskins’ training staff. Barrow is declining comment until he returns to the field.

“It’s something we just have to live through,” Gibbs said. “[Director of sports medicine Bubba Tyer] said Micheal looked good today. We’re going after it pretty hard with him, and hopefully there will be a point where he’s freed up to start practicing.”

With Barrow still out, the Redskins don’t have a proven starting middle linebacker in a group that includes last year’s weakside starter, Lemar Marshall, career weakside starter Warrick Holdman, career special teamer Brian Allen, practice squad veteran Clifton Smith and rookies Robert McCune and Jared Newberry.

McCants gets special

After playing in all but one game and catching a career-high 27 passes in 2003, receiver Darnerien McCants got into just five games and caught just five passes last year because he couldn’t help on special teams. That’s going to have to change if McCants wants to return to a more active role this season.

“The fact that Darnerien didn’t play on [special] teams kept us several times from getting him active,” Gibbs said. “We’ve had several long talks. We told him he’s a real talent and we have to find a way to get him on the field. It’s important for all of our players to contribute on teams, especially if you’re not starting.”

McCants said he always has been willing to play special teams.

“I’ve always told them I want to play teams,” McCants said. “If they want me to snap, I’ll snap. The best part about teams is that there’s no thinking involved. It’s either hit or be hit.”

Extra points

Troubled safety Sean Taylor and disgruntled receiver Rod Gardner were excused from minicamp. Linebacker LaVar Arrington (knee), defensive tackle Brandon Noble (knee) and H-back Chris Cooley (hamstring) were sidelined with injuries. Offensive lineman Ben Nowland and cornerback James Bethea were absent after being hurt in NFL Europe. … Undrafted rookie defensive lineman Tyler Luebke was cut. …

Gibbs said attendance during the nonmandatory offseason program was 96 percent. … The Redskins completed their front office with the hirings of scouts Terry Ray, Russ Bolinger, Mike Faulkiner and Jim Zeches, scouting assistant Chip Flanagan, pro personnel assistant Ryan Kessenich and salary cap assistant Matt Jacobson.

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