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With a Deal In Tow, Moss Finally Joins The Redskins

By Nunyo Demasio
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 6, 2005; Page D01

Wide receiver Santana Moss participated in his first workout at Redskins Park yesterday after signing a six-year, $31 million contract extension. Although voluntary workouts started March 21, Moss stayed away because of his contract. In yesterday's 90-minute workout, with Moss and his new teammates in T-shirts and shorts, it didn't take long for Moss to display the explosiveness that elicited his new deal.

"He's quicker than lightning. That boy's quicker than a hiccup," cornerback Shawn Springs said afterward. "He's blazing fast."

Santana Moss smiles during a news conference announcing his new contract with the Redskins. (Evan Vucci -- AP)

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Moss's stamina was on par with his teammates because the former Miami Hurricane had been working out regularly at the University of Miami, which is renowned for its offseason workouts among alumni. Still, Moss was unfamiliar with Coach Joe Gibbs's offense and starting quarterback Patrick Ramsey.

Moss "was thinking a lot but I saw him make a couple diving catches," said tailback Clinton Portis, another former Hurricane. "He's going to fit into this system. I knew he was in top-notch shape."

At yesterday's news conference to announce Moss's contract, Gibbs said that in the weeks leading to the draft, he checked on Moss whenever he ran into ex-Hurricanes.

"They'd say, 'Hey look, that guy is working himself silly down there,' " Gibbs said. "So I felt good about that. It was good for us, though, to get him in here so we could start working with the quarterbacks."

Moss, acquired in a trade earlier this offseason with the New York Jets for wide receiver Laveranues Coles, said he had been staying away from Redskins Park on the advice of agent Drew Rosenhaus. Moss said he was so anxious about being at Redskins Park that he even prodded Rosenhaus to make a deal and end his unofficial holdout: "It [the holdout] was real awkward. I wish we didn't have to go that route, but it's behind us."

Moss had been scheduled to become a free agent after this season when he was scheduled to make $540,000.

Moss's contract all but officially makes him Washington's top wide receiver. The extension could be voided after five years if Moss plays at least 45 percent of the offensive snaps in any year between 2006 and 2010. Thus, the deal likely will end up worth $26.5 million over five years. The first two years are structured to give Moss the equivalent of guarantees worth $11 million.

Moss's contract is richer than deals signed this offseason by other wide receivers such as Oakland's Jerry Porter (five years, $21 million, including $7 million guaranteed) and Plaxico Burress, who signed for six years and $25 million with the New York Giants, with $8.25 million guaranteed. But Moss's contract stops just short of the one signed by Pro Bowler Muhsin Muhammad, who signed a six-year, $30-million deal with the Chicago Bears, including $12 million in guarantees.

"We wanted to get [Moss] locked for the long term," said Redskins Vice President Vinny Cerrato. "That's better than going through free agency when the money probably gets a lot higher."

Washington's wideouts last season averaged only 11.5 yards per catch and collected six touchdowns overall. Moss's career averages of 16 yards per catch and one touchdown every 7.9 receptions are among the NFL's best.

Rosenhaus and his brother, Jason, also represent second-year safety Sean Taylor, who has missed voluntary workouts over concerns about his rookie contract. Moss said that he saw Taylor, another ex-Hurricane, working out once at the University of Miami. But Moss believes that Taylor works out regularly on his own. "When I do see him, it's around UM," Moss said.

At yesterday's news conference, Jason Rosenhaus declined to comment on Taylor's contract. Said Gibbs: "We just had some real good talks. I think I got a little information and everything from Drew and we'll just see what happens."

But Gibbs added: "The biggest thing there is [Taylor] has a contract."

Redskins Notes: Gibbs provided injury updates for linebackers LaVar Arrington and Mike Barrow, both of whom have been recovering from knee ailments. Arrington is healing well, Gibbs said, from April 6 surgery on his right knee. Gibbs said he expects Arrington, who missed 11 games last season, to be back for training camp in late July.

Barrow is scheduled to undergo an MRI exam today to determine if he can increase activity toward the mid-June minicamp. . . .

Gibbs said there are no new developments regarding wide receiver Rod Gardner, who reached a mutual agreement with Washington after the 2004 season to part ways. Previously, Gibbs maintained that a chance existed for Gardner's return. But yesterday Gibbs said: "After talking to him, I'd say I'm kind of skeptical of that working out." . . .

The Redskins signed tight end Billy Baber, wide receiver Jimmy Farris, running back Brock Forsey and quarterback Bryson Spinner and released tight end Kori Dickerson and running back John Simon.

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