- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 27, 2008

With their playoff hopes extinguished, Sunday’s season finale at San Francisco is relatively meaningless for most of the Washington Redskins.

But for defensive end Andre Carter, it will be his first game against the team he left when he signed with Washington in 2006.

“It’s a blessing to go back to the Bay,” said Carter, who went to high school in San Jose and starred at Cal before being drafted seventh overall by the 49ers in 2001. “I have a lot of memories. … Sometimes you have that feeling of calling for revenge, but throughout the years, those feelings have died down.”

The 49ers had hoped to re-sign Carter, but they did not match the six-year, $30 million offer he received from the Redskins.

“I love Andre Carter,” said 49ers coach Mike Singletary, an assistant during Carter’s final year with the team. “He’s the consummate pro. He’s going to give you everything he has every down.”

Carter has three sacks this season, trailing Jason Taylor and Demetric Evans by half a sack for the team lead. With a strong effort Sunday, Carter could become the second player to lead the Redskins in sacks for three straight years. Dexter Manley managed that feat from 1984 to 1986.

Davis earns raves

Singletary banished Vernon Davis to the locker room in his coaching debut, a 34-14 loss at Seattle on Oct. 26, after the third-year tight end from Maryland slapped Seahawks safety Brian Russell’s helmet. But Davis and the coach have more than patched up their relationship.

“Vernon’s been outstanding,” Singletary said. “I am so proud of him for the mind-set that he has, the professionalism that he has brought to his game. I won’t take any of the credit. Anytime a player makes a decision to change, it ultimately has to be his decision. A lot of guys, you can throw ‘em out of the stadium and it doesn’t matter - it always comes back to somebody else’s fault. But he responded and has been nothing but great since.”

Added 49ers quarterback Shaun Hill: “Everybody knows the type of speed Vernon has and the things he can do with the ball in his hands, but I think he’s opened some eyes with his blocking ability.”

Redskins defensive coordinator Greg Blache said he is concerned about the 6-foot-3, 250-pounder. The tight end has 28 catches and two touchdowns this season.

“He creates serious matchup problems for us because of his size and because of his speed.” Blache said. “He’s faster than our linebackers, and he’s bigger and more powerful than our safeties. He’s a definite weapon.”

Jansen likely to start

Linebacker London Fletcher (foot) was held out of practice Friday after participating Thursday. Defensive tackle Kedric Golston (ankle) and offensive tackle Jon Jansen (knee) were limited again. All will be game-time decisions but are expected to play.

Fletcher hasn’t missed a start. Golston has missed three of the past four games, Jansen the past two.

“If Jon can go, he’ll be our starter,” coach Jim Zorn said. “We’re going to make sure that we see him able to compete and anchor.”

Going for 9-7

Although a 9-7 finish won’t produce a playoff berth as it did last year, quarterback Jason Campbell said finishing with a winning record remains an important goal. The Redskins haven’t had consecutive winning seasons since 1996-97.

“We would love to win and be 9-7 and finish the season on a winning note, just because of all the struggles that we’ve gone through the last month and the way the guys played last week,” Campbell said. “Coach Zorn’s first year, [if] he was 9-7, that would be nice.”

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