Friday, March 23, 2007

Adam Archuleta’s awful year with the Washington Redskins officially ended yesterday when he passed his physical in Chicago, sealing his trade to the Bears for a sixth-round pick in April’s draft. The Bears will cover all but $500,000 of the $5 million bonus Archuleta was due as part of the six-year, $30 million contract he signed last year.

“I don’t regret signing with the Redskins,” said Archuleta, who chose Washington over Chicago as a free agent in 2006 and is now reunited with Bears coach Lovie Smith, his defensive coordinator during his first three NFL seasons. “The communication between me and certain members of the coaching staff was pretty nonexistent for the last few months of the season. I could air a whole bunch of different laundry. There’s a lot more going on [at Redskin Park] than people understand.”

Archuleta, a solid five-year starter in St. Louis, was certainly not as good in Washington, let alone worthy of being the league’s highest-paid safety. Archuleta struggled in pass coverage in the preseason and never improved. He lost his job to 35-year-old free agent Troy Vincent in Week 9 and barely saw the field behind career special-teamer Vernon Fox in December.

“I sensed things were kind of strange, really not what they seemed towards the end of training camp,” the 29-year-old Archuleta said. “I didn’t see it coming. It kind of snowballed into kind of a mess. I won’t pretend I went there and lit it up. When you look at the performance of the team and the defense and you look at individual performances, I don’t think mine was really out of line. In a certain sense, I hit rock-bottom, so I learned a lot about myself. I think I’m better as a person and better as a football player because of it. This move is best for the Bears, best for the Redskins and best for me.”

Said Redskins coach Joe Gibbs in a press release: “We wish things could have worked out better with Adam, but we feel the trade is positive for him, the Bears and the Redskins.”

Washington plays host to Chicago this season.

“I don’t think there are many safeties who can do what I do underneath,” said Archuleta, who made his reputation with the Rams as a run-stopper. “People like to say I can’t cover. I don’t believe it. I don’t have a lot of interceptions, [but] I don’t get beat a lot, [and] rarely was I out of position until last season.

“I’m looking forward to the fans of Washington actually seeing what I’m capable of doing and what I could have been doing in a Redskins uniform.”

Patten era ends

The Redskins cut receiver David Patten yesterday. Patten, who arrived in 2005 after winning back to back Super Bowl rings with New England, caught just 22 passes with a career-low 9.9-yard average in his first nine games before suffering a season-ending knee injury.

“David is a fantastic person and meant a lot to this team in the two seasons he was with us,” Redskins coach Joe Gibbs said in a press release. “Despite battling through some injuries that limited his time on the field he continued to serve as a leader on our team and was a positive influence on many of our players. We appreciate the contributions he made over the past two years.”

Washington added receivers Antwaan Randle El and Brandon Lloyd last March, making Patten an afterthought. Patten, 32, played sparingly in five games last year and only caught one pass.

Piller visits

Guard Zach Piller was cut by Tennessee last month. He turns 31 on May 2. He missed all but three games in 2006 and all but one in 2004 with injuries. And yet the Redskins brought the powerful 6-foot-5, 321-pound Piller in for a visit yesterday after saying Monday they weren’t interested in any of the guards still available in free agency.

Piller, a backup on Tennessee’s Super Bowl team as a rookie in 1999, became a starter midway through 2001 and helped the Titans reach the AFC Championship Game in 2003.

If the Redskins sign Piller, he would compete with holdovers Todd Wade — who’s switching from tackle — Mike Pucillo and Taylor Whitley and the recently signed Will Whitticker and Ross Tucker to fill the void caused by the loss of four-year starting left guard Derrick Dockery to Buffalo on Mar. 2. Piller’s 62 starts at guard equal the total of the other five candidates combined.

No eyes for Russell

Vice president of football operations Vinny Cerrato denied reports the Redskins want to trade up for the top pick in next month’s draft to take LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell. He also said the Redskins do not want to deal their first-rounders in 2007 and 2008 for Chicago Pro Bowl linebacker Lance Briggs, who vowed never to play for the Bears again after his market value was reduced when they made him their franchise player.

“There’s no merit whatsoever,” Cerrato said of those rumors.

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