- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 8, 2008

DeAngelo Hall was trouble in Atlanta and Oakland, but he’s also a two-time Pro Bowl selection. So the Washington Redskins came to terms with the former Virginia Tech cornerback Friday on a one-year deal, two days after the Raiders released him.

“It’s home,” the Chesapeake, Va., native said on Sirius NFL Radio. “After talking to the guys, it was definitely a situation that I felt like, going into the offseason, [was] a place that I could call home for a long time.”

In March, the Falcons traded the 24-year-old to Oakland for two draft choices. The Raiders signed Hall to a seven-year, $70 million contract but quickly became fed up with his poor play and pouting.

“When you’re getting a lot of money, you’re expected to make a lot of plays,” Hall told Sirius. “And there are a lot of plays out there I didn’t make, and I take responsibility for those. I definitely look forward to going to a team with a great scheme, great players and just fitting in.”

Washington ranks fourth in total defense and boasts a trio of fine corners in Carlos Rogers, Fred Smoot and Shawn Springs. But Springs, 33, has missed five games with injuries.

“It’s a good thing,” said Springs, who said he plans to return to the lineup when the Redskins play host to Dallas on Nov. 16.

With Springs unlikely to return in 2009 because of his age and high salary and since Smoot is considered a No. 3 corner, the Redskins would be the front-runners to sign Hall to a long-term contract this offseason.

“DeAngelo wanted a club with a strong defense, a strong coaching staff and a great tradition,” said Hall’s agent, Joel Segal. “He grew up in Virginia a Redskins fan, and he feels he’s coming home.”

As long as he passes his physical Saturday at Redskin Park, Hall will join a crowded position that also includes speedster Leigh Torrence and rookie Justin Tryon. Washington will probably place rookie receiver Malcolm Kelly on injured reserve to create a roster spot for Hall; Redskins executive vice president Vinny Cerrato declined comment until Hall is under contract.

Despite his Pro Bowl acclaim, Hall struggled with the Raiders. According to STATS Inc., Hall was beaten 40 times - tied for third-most in the league - in eight games for an NFL-high 552 yards on 66 passes thrown his way. He had three interceptions.

Hall said earlier this season that he was still adjusting to man-to-man coverage - which the Redskins also prefer - after playing mostly zone in Atlanta, where he intercepted 17 passes in four seasons. But Hall’s final year with the Falcons was marred by a sideline spat with coach Bobby Petrino and an assistant after he was flagged three times for 67 yards on one series against Carolina. The Falcons fined him $100,000 for the outburst and benched him for the next game. Team captain Keith Brooking called Hall’s behavior “unacceptable.”

“I don’t think this is the first time it’s happened in the National Football League and it definitely won’t be the last time,” Hall said after the fine was announced. “I think it is a little bit unfair, but he made his decision and we need to move on from here.”

Hall could also help on special teams. He has averaged 9.5 yards on punt returns in limited duty. Antwaan Randle El, Washington’s regular punt returner, has struggled to a 6.3-yard average.



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