- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 17, 2005

Fired by him eight years ago, Joe Bugel calls Al Davis “my friend forever.” Bugel, the Washington Redskins’ assistant head coach-offense, spent three seasons working for Davis, the Oakland Raiders’ Grand Poobah, including the 1997 season as head coach.

The Raiders and Redskins meet Sunday at FedEx Field.

“He’s a fair person,” Bugel said. “The only thing he does in his life is Raiders football. He has no hobbies. … We parted on good circumstances. It was time for me to change and they wanted to bring a younger guy in.”

Bugel went 4-12 in his only season as Oakland’s coach.

“When I was the line coach, I enjoyed it immensely,” said Bugel, who replaced Mike White. “When things started happening, Al told me to sit tight and they’ll be talking to me down the road. That was fine because I had a year left on my contract. Finally, he said he wanted to talk and I decided to stay there.”

Oakland was 3-4 before losing eight of their last nine games. Offense wasn’t a problem — the Raiders were 10th in yards and Jeff George threw 29 touchdowns and only nine interceptions. But the defense ranked 30th.

“It was a tough experience because we weren’t a complete football team,” Bugel said.

Bugel was removed to make way for Jon Gruden. Bugel went to San Diego to coach the offensive line for four seasons. It represented a return to what he enjoys most.

“The thing I didn’t enjoy about being a head coach was missing the grunt work,” he said. “I probably delegated too much responsibility and I got myself out of the coaching. That wasn’t really healthy for me. … I think I’m a better position coach than I was a head coach.”

Injury report

Safety Sean Taylor (right ankle) returned to practice yesterday and was upgraded to probable.

“He’s anxious to get out there and play,” assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams said. “He doesn’t like not being out there but it’s something we had to do to get him over the hump.”

Defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin’s hip is likely to sideline him for a third consecutive game, but Williams said Cedric Killings is “full go” to return. Killings has missed the last three games with a high ankle sprain.

“It’s taken longer than I expected,” Killings said. “You get impatient being injured, especially in our situation where we’re banged up on the D-line.”

Receiver David Patten remains doubtful with a knee injury. Coach Joe Gibbs said yesterday the team will announce today whether he will require arthroscopic surgery. The Redskins worked out receiver Jimmy Farris — cut after the preseason — yesterday in case they need another receiver for the Oakland game.

Theismann anniversary

Today marks the 20-year anniversary of Joe Theismann’s gruesome broken leg, which happened when he was sacked by the Giants’ Lawrence Taylor during a Monday night game. Jay Schroeder replaced Theismann — whose career was over — and helped the Redskins to a 23-21 victory.

“That’s one of the first things people mention to me about the Redskins,” Gibbs recalled this week. “I felt so bad for Joe. I went out there and what do you say to a guy who’s hurt like that? Joe’s yelling at everybody. He was mad. I kind of looked down at him and said, [sarcastically], ‘Well, it’s a fine mess you’ve left me in.’ And he started yelling at me.”

Theismann started Gibbs’ first 68 games with the Redskins, leading the team to a Super Bowl win following the 1982 season.

“I had a special relationship with Joe,” Gibbs said. “We started off 0-5 my first year. We were wondering if we were going to be able to win here or not. Joe was a pretty big part of that puzzle. We started winning and a lot of that was because of him.”

Portis wardrobe report

Last week, Clinton Portis was “Sheriff Gonna Getcha.” Yesterday, he was “Dollar Bill,” in reference to his recent $20,000 fine for NFL uniform violations.

The $100 outfit — named “Sugar Bear” — can be purchased at a store and it includes green pants, jacket and hat. Portis didn’t wear the hat, replacing it with a purple wig. He also donned glasses, a gold chain with a dollar sign hanging from it and plenty of other jewelry.

Staff writer David Elfin contributed to this article.

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