Monday, February 27, 2006

INDIANAPOLIS — If the Washington Redskins are able to rework enough contracts and cut enough players to get under the projected salary cap of $95 million by Thursday and then free up some more cash to sign a new player, Pittsburgh receiver Antwaan Randle El could be on their radar.

Randle El had 35 catches for 558 yards and a touchdown and returned 44 punts for a 10.2-yard average and two touchdowns last season. He threw a touchdown in the Super Bowl. The Redskins clearly need help at receiver, and their punt return game (28th in the NFL) was a season-long exhibition in short gains or fair catches.

Randle El is expected to be pursued by Chicago and Philadelphia. Pittsburgh would like to keep Randle El but not at the kind of price he will command on the open market.

“I don’t know if he priced himself out [of the our plans],” said Kevin Colbert, director of football operations for the Steelers. “We don’t know the interest level, but we certainly have an interest in keeping Antwaan. Anytime you win a Super Bowl, it enhances your value, maybe artificially.

“Antwaan is a unique player. When you look at his sheer numbers, you’re not going to be real impressed, but there’s no doubt he was a big part of our success.”

Cleveland Browns general manager Phil Savage said Randle El’s market value is tough to gauge.

“He’s not a cookie-cutter receiver,” Savage said. “He’s a little different, and that’s one thing I admire about what Pittsburgh has done. They’ve taken a Randle El and a Hines Ward and have known what to do with those guys. They’ve been creative.”

If the Steelers lose Randle El, Colbert didn’t rule out drafting somebody like Missouri quarterback Brad Smith, who could play a variety of positions in the NFL.

A shot-in-the-dark scenario: The Redskins sign Randle El. He serves as their kick/punt returner, No. 3 receiver and No. 3 quarterback. It probably won’t happen, but it would save the Redskins some cap space because, if they trade Patrick Ramsey, they would need to acquire another quarterback.

Low score for Young?

The Web site reported late Saturday night that Texas quarterback Vince Young scored a horrific six out of 50 on the Wonderlic test.

But Houston general manager Charley Casserly said yesterday he was told the report was inaccurate “by a source who is reliable enough for me to stand up and say that.”

Players have 12 minutes to complete the exam. The Web site reported that Young — unlike most draft prospects — had not taken a practice exam before arriving at the combine.

Casserly said it is common for players to be retested when they visit with teams leading into the draft.

Looking for linemen

With Ray Brown’s retirement, the Redskins lack depth on the offensive line. Jim Molinaro will be entering his third season but has played little, and veteran Cory Raymer — if he’s not a salary cap casualty — is limited to playing center.

Redskins coach Joe Gibbs said the team would like to find a “combo” lineman who could play tackle and another position.

Brown, meanwhile, was one of 10 people inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame this weekend. Brown, who made 206 career starts, grew up in Marion, Ark., and played at Arkansas State.

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