- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 12, 2006

Running back Kerry Carter suffered a severe ankle injury last preseason. Defensive end Karon Riley pulled a groin in 2004. Their injuries kept the NFL veterans from playing last season. Healthy again, Carter and Riley are hoping to defy the odds and re-earn their stripes with the Washington Redskins.

Carter, a fixture on special teams in Seattle in 2003 and 2004, signed with Washington in January knowing that Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts were locks to keep their backfield jobs and that the Redskins likely would bring back special-teamer Rock Cartwright.

“I signed here because I like being around winners,” said the 25-year-old Carter, a Canadian who is Stanford’s eighth-leading career rusher. “I felt the team was on the rise and that I had an opportunity to compete whether it was on offense or special teams.”

Carter carried three times for 20 yards in the Aug. 6 scrimmage against Baltimore and should see more work in tomorrow’s preseason opener at Cincinnati.

Carter has impressed coach Joe Gibbs.

“He’s an example of a guy coming out of nowhere,” Gibbs said. “He looked good in the scrimmage and I’ll be interested to see him play a lot this weekend. He’s done everything we’ve asked so far.”

Running backs coach Earnest Byner said that Carter offers smarts and power.

“Kerry’s very astute,” he said. “He’s probably one of my better students and he translates what he learns to the field quickly. Then you have his physical nature, his size, his athletic ability. He’s quicker and faster than what you think. Kerry has the tools to contribute to an NFL team.”

With disappointing 2005 rookies Manuel White and Nehemiah Broughton behind Mike Sellers at fullback and rookie Jesse Lumsden injured, the Bengals’ game could be the chance Carter needs.

“I have a very aggressive running style,” Carter said. “I try to take it to the defense. I’m excited about the opportunity to get out here and show what I can do. That’s all you can ask for.”

Riley, who showed signs of promise as a pass-rusher against the Ravens, should benefit from the injury to holdover backup Nic Clemons as he tries to win a job behind sure things Phillip Daniels, Andre Carter, Renaldo Wynn and the versatile Demetric Evans. Undersized at 6-2, 256, Riley broke in under defensive line coach Greg Blache in Chicago in 2001 as a fourth-round draft choice out of the University of Minnesota. Then he played in 20 games the next three seasons with Atlanta.

“I feel blessed that coach Blache gave me a chance to get back in the league,” said Riley, who played five games with Toronto of the CFL last year to show NFL scouts that he was healthy again. “I’m just looking to be a guy who can help this team in any way I can, whether it’s rushing the passer on third down or on special teams. I can penetrate, disrupt the backfield and stretch the pocket.”

Daniels believes in the 27-year-old Riley with whom he played in Chicago and with whom he works out in Atlanta during the winter.

“Karon’s a speed rusher but he’s got some physical moves, too,” Daniels said. “He bullrushed a few people to get to the quarterback in the scrimmage and he has run over a couple of people in practice. He can fool you with how strong he is. I don’t know if there’s a spot for him here, but I told Karon to do his best to make them give him one. If they don’t and he has a good preseason, he’ll be somewhere in the league.”

Lefotu out of hospital

Guard Kili Lefotu, who was hospitalized after passing out in his room on Wednesday, was released from the hospital yesterday. Director of sports medicine Bubba Tyer said the cause of the episode remains somewhat of a mystery.

“The doctors feel that Kili possibly had a seizure, but the tests were inconclusive,” Tyer said. “He’s a little weak because he really hasn’t eaten much.”

Tyer said Lefotu could return to the field when the Redskins resume practicing on Tuesday. Lefotu is one of nine players who won’t travel to Cincinnati for tomorrow’s preseason opener.

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