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Brown Scheduled to Visit Redskins Today

By Nunyo Demasio
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 16, 2005; Page D03

Defensive end Courtney Brown will visit the Washington Redskins late this afternoon or tonight, according to two sources familiar with the plans, and the club hopes to sign him before he departs Redskins Park for other scheduled visits.

Brown, who was released by the Cleveland Browns on Monday after declining a substantial pay cut, spent yesterday with the Denver Broncos for his first visit. According to sources, the Redskins, however, have the best chance of landing Brown. The 6-foot-4, 290-pounder was scheduled to spend this morning with Denver officials before heading to Washington. Brown also has scheduled visits with the Seattle Seahawks and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. According to a source, although the Browns hope to re-sign him to a lesser contract, he almost certainly won't return to Cleveland.

Courtney Brown spent most of Thursday at Redskins Park. "The best way for me to say it is we just had a good visit," Coach Joe Gibbs said. (Tony Dejak - AP)

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Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs and defensive coordinator Greg Blache, who oversees the line, reportedly flew to Cleveland on Monday night to meet with Brown and his wife. According to a source with knowledge of the dinner meeting, it went well; and Blache expressed enthusiasm about eventually landing the 27-year-old.

The Redskins have targeted Brown, although the former top overall pick in the 2000 draft has missed 33 games in four seasons from eight injuries. Brown has undergone four operations during that stretch. The Redskins, one source said, will give him a physical today, apparently believing the ailments won't necessarily continue.

Brown never suffered a serious injury when he played at Penn State, where Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington was a teammate. Brown's most significant ailment in college was a dislocated thumb. During his NFL rookie season, he started every game to finish with 4 1/2 sacks and 85 tackles. But beginning in 2001, when he missed 11 games with knee and ankle ailments, Brown was placed on injured reserve each season.

After losing cornerback Fred Smoot to the Minnesota Vikings, the Redskins are about $2 million under the salary cap, enough room to outbid some teams for Brown.

Brown earned $22 million in five NFL seasons, but the Browns released him before a $2.5 million roster bonus was due yesterday. Brown, who has 17 career sacks, was scheduled to receive another $5.5 million in salary.

Redskins Notes: According to sources, wide receiver Santana Moss, who was traded for wideout Laveranues Coles, will likely sign a rich, multiyear contract befitting a No. 1 wideout. Sources said after the March 5 trade, the Redskins and Moss's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, started to negotiate the parameters of an extension, and Washington will announce the deal after creating cap space.

According to one source, who requested anonymity because the new deal hasn't been finalized, Moss will average more than the annual salary in Coles's original contract in Washington -- a seven-year deal worth $35 million that included a $13 million signing bonus. Rosenhaus, whose client was scheduled to earn about $450,000 in 2005, said last night that no deal has yet been reached and declined further comment. . . .

According to sources, wideout Rod Gardner's departure from Washington will be accelerated after Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Plaxico Burress, an unrestricted free agent, signs. Cleveland, Minnesota and Seattle were considered probable destinations for Gardner. But Minnesota appears off the list after recently signing wide receiver Travis Taylor. . . .

Gibbs will make four radio appearances today beginning at 7 a.m. to take calls from fans and give information about the Redskins. Gibbs will be on WMZQ-FM-98.7 from 7 a.m. to 7:20 a.m.; WIHT-FM-99.5 from 7:30 to 7:50; WBIG-FM-100.3 from 8 to 8:20 and WTEM-980 at 9:15 a.m. for an unscheduled allotment. Gibbs will end his radio tour after an appearance from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. on WJFK-FM-106.7. The Redskins have said Gibbs is making such efforts to "directly interact with fans."

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