- The Washington Times - Friday, March 18, 2005

The Washington Redskins spent yesterday entertaining defensive end Courtney Brown, a courtship that included having several current Redskins players talk to the former No. 1 overall draft pick and sell him on signing with Washington.

Brown’s physical examination, expected to be a significant factor in Washington’s pursuit, apparently went well. Coach Joe Gibbs declined to provide specifics, but when asked whether the Redskins were continuing to pursue Brown after the physical, he replied, “We’re interested, so we’ll see.”

“We just had a good visit,” Gibbs said. “He took a physical and we kind of went through a process there. We’ll just work through the rest of it.”

It was unclear whether Brown, who already visited the Denver Broncos, might travel to see other clubs. The Jacksonville Jaguars and Seattle Seahawks were said to be interested. Gibbs indicated that no deal with Washington was imminent, and he said Brown is not scheduled to return to Redskin Park today. A team spokesman later said Brown is scheduled to depart the Washington area this morning.

The Redskins were hot after Brown the moment the Cleveland Browns released him. Gibbs and defensive line coach Greg Blache flew to Cleveland that day for a meeting, and yesterday the club used a range of personnel, including defensive tackle Brandon Noble, to sell Brown on Washington.

Noble, who played one season (1997) with Brown at Penn State, drove back from State College, Pa., Wednesday night after giving a speech to some athletes there. At the Redskins’ headquarters, he spoke to Brown for about a half-hour, during which time he “tried to sell him a little.”

“I know Courtney,” Noble said afterward. “He’s a standup guy. He’d fit in well with this team, and he’d fit in well in our [defensive line meeting] room. He’s had some bad luck with some injuries. I think a fresh start would be good. I’d love for him to do it here.”

Noble said he tried to sell Brown on the strength of the coaching staff and on the upside of playing in a rotation with defensive ends with Phillip Daniels (who also was at Redskin Park and spoke to Brown) and Renaldo Wynn. The latter point could be key as Brown eyes a starting opportunity in Denver.

According to Noble, having Daniels and Wynn to share snaps would allow Brown to ease back into peak condition rather than immediately assume a heavy burden. Noble benefited from a similar setup last season after the Redskins acquired veteran nose tackle Joe Salave’a.

Brown, 27, played in just two games in 2004 after tearing a ligament in his foot. It was yet another setback in his five-year stay with the Browns, who drafted him first overall in 2000 but got little return on their investment.

Expected to be a pass-rushing force, Brown recorded just 17 sacks while missing 33 games. Among his other injuries were a torn knee ligament, a high ankle sprain, microfracture knee surgery and a ruptured right biceps tendon. He played in all 16 games only once, his rookie year.

But he retains impressive physical dimensions (6-foot-4, 290 pounds) and uncanny quickness, provided he can stay healthy.

Gibbs indicated Wednesday that the physical report would play a significant role in Washington’s pursuit of Brown, who failed Cleveland’s physical earlier this week. The fact Washington continued its courtship following yesterday’s examination likely indicated that nothing unexpected or too ominous surfaced.

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