- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Washington Redskins tight end Chris Cooley has never missed a game in his six-year career. But that streak seems to be in severe danger after he broke his right tibia on the opening play of the second quarter.

His leg appeared to buckle as he was running a route. He had to be taken to the locker room on a cart, and the team said later he broke his leg.

“We’re quite certain it’s broke or fractured in some way,” coach Jim Zorn said. “He’ll be out awhile. I don’t know if it’s going to be a season-ending injury yet.”

As for other injuries, defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin left in the first quarter after hurting an elbow. Linebacker H.B. Blades and cornerback Byron Westbrook also suffered knee injuries.

In addition to losing running back Brian Westbrook in the first quarter with a concussion, the Eagles played without receiver Kevin Curtis (knee), defensive lineman Victor Abiamiri (knee), linebacker Omar Gaither (foot) and guard Max-Jean Gilles (shoulder.) Gilles’ absence forced Todd Herremans to left guard; Nick Cole moved to right guard.

Cerrato defends Lewis

In an interview with ESPN before Monday night’s game, Washington Redskins executive vice president of football operations Vinny Cerrato defended the decision to take playcalling duties from coach Jim Zorn and hand them to offensive assistant Sherm Lewis.

“He has the experience, and it’s like riding a bike - you don’t ride a bike for a couple of years, you get back on [and] it’s easy to ride the bike,” Cerrato said before the Redskins faced the Philadelphia Eagles. “He’s been in this offense 20-some years, calling these plays and knowing this offense. He knows this offense backward and forward.”

Asked about the five-day delay in giving Zorn a tepid vote of confidence after a loss to Kansas City dropped the Redskins to 2-4, Cerrato said: “[Owner Dan Snyder], myself and the organization want this to be successful. We expected to be 3-3. It took a little bit of time to recover from the loss and then figure out what we’re going to do, and that’s what we did.”

Cerrato also disagreed with Steve Largent’s comments about the decision being a “joke.”

“I don’t agree with a lot of things Steve said,” Cerrato said. “He has a right to have a comment, but a lot of the things he said he doesn’t really know any detail of what we talked about.”

Mitchell honored

The Redskins inducted Brian Mitchell into their Ring of Fame before the game.

Mitchell, who elicited mild boos from the crowd when he thanked Snyder, played the first 10 of his 14 NFL seasons with the Redskins. While he was a contributor as a third-down back, he made his name as the most prolific return man in NFL history. By the time Mitchell retired in 2004, he held the records for total return yards, kickoff return yards, punt return yards and return touchdowns. He trails only Jerry Rice in combined yards.

Mitchell is the 44th player to be inducted into the Ring of Fame and the first since Sean Taylor last November.

A welcome return

The Eagles gave up a fifth-round draft pick to get Will Witherspoon from St. Louis last week. So far, Philadelphia likely has no regrets.

The linebacker grabbed a tipped pass late in the first quarter and returned it 9 yards for a touchdown to give the Eagles a 14-0 lead.

Monday’s game was just the fourth at home for the Redskins, but Witherspoon has appeared in two of them. He led all players with 10 tackles, including one for a loss, during the Rams’ loss Sept. 20 at FedEx Field.

• Staff writer David Elfin contributed to this report.

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