- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 28, 2008

Rock Cartwright has played for the Washington Redskins for six years, longer than all but three teammates. But that tenure could end as soon as tomorrow when the all-purpose back becomes an unrestricted free agent.

“I’m just sitting here waiting to see what’s going to happen,” Cartwright said. “I don’t think anything’s going to happen before Friday. I want to stay and I would be sad to leave, but I also want to carry the football and I don’t think that’s going to happen here. Clinton [Portis] and Ladell [Betts] are great backs and [the Redskins] have invested a lot of money in those guys so they’re going to play.”

Cartwright had two carries last season and five in 2006. The Redskins handed him the ball just 36 times during former coach Joe Gibbs’ four seasons.

Cartwright said he received no commitment from Redskins running backs coach Stump Mitchell or new coach Jim Zorn about any change in his role.

And in a free agent market that includes just one back — the Dallas Cowboys’ Julius Jones — with more than a year as a starter, the 5-foot-8, 218-pound Cartwright is hopeful he’ll get a shot to sustain his career 4.4-yard average in more than spot duty.

“If someone’s going to give me the opportunity to run the football, I’ll have to look at it,” Cartwright said. “I can run. I can catch and I can block. I’m 28, but my body’s still fresh because I haven’t taken the pounding that backs with a lot of carries have.”

And Cartwright has proved himself on special teams. He set Redskins records with 64 returns and 1,541 yards in 2006, and his 25.8 yards a return in 2007 was the Redskins’ second best in 26 seasons.

Aside from returning kickoffs, Cartwright finished second or third in special teams tackles the past three years.

“I love the city, the fans and the organization,” said Cartwright, who carried a $680,000 salary cap number in 2007. “I was a seventh-round draft pick, four picks from the end of the draft and I’m still here. That kinda speaks for itself right there. I’m not a greedy guy. I just want a contract that’s fair to me, fair to the Redskins and gives my family a little security.”

Note — The Redskins voided quarterback Mark Brunell’s contract, saving $3.4 million against the salary cap and getting them under the $116 million limit more than 30 hours before tomorrow’s 11:59 p.m. deadline. It doesn’t mean the 37-year-old won’t return, but if he does, it will be at a lower price than his previously slated $6.5 million.

Besides Brunell, the other veterans of Washington’s 2005 playoff team who will become free agents are defensive lineman Ryan Boschetti, punter Derrick Frost (who’s close to re-signing), tight end Brian Kozlowski and safeties Pierson Prioleau and Omar Stoutmire.

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