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Old Friends Are New Foes for Ex-Seahawk Springs

By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, October 1, 2005

For seven seasons Shawn Springs called Seattle home and the Seahawks his teammates, so when he plays against them for the first time tomorrow at FedEx Field, his emotions likely will be running high. Springs, who is from Silver Spring, signed with Washington as a free agent prior to the 2004 season and will be tested by Seattle's potent offense this weekend.

The Seahawks made Springs the third overall pick of the 1997 draft, and he became an established NFL player there, but opted to leave when the Redskins made their offer. Springs has played at a Pro Bowl level since, and with rookie cornerback Carlos Rogers likely to see his first extensive action tomorrow on the opposite side, the secondary figures to be a critical area for the Redskins.

"Yeah, I would like to beat them so I could talk trash," Springs said. "But that's no different than any other team we face in the NFL. I like to beat Philly so I can talk trash to [quarterback] Donovan [McNabb] and T.O. [wide receiver Terrell Owens], too."

Gregg Williams, assistant head coach-defense, said he expects that Springs, 30, will be particularly energized for this game, regardless of his sentiments to the contrary. Springs's tenure in Seattle ended amid claims he was injury-prone and slowing down, but he says he always had a good relationship with Coach Mike Holmgren; Holmgren, meantime, called Springs the best cornerback he has coached.

"Believe it or not, Coach Holmgren and me had a pretty good relationship," Springs said. "A lot of people thought it wasn't all that well for me [the] last couple of years in Seattle, but Coach Holmgren and me had a great relationship, but I just ended up leaving in free agency."

Players Downgraded

As expected, the Redskins downgraded place kicker John Hall (quad), starting cornerback Walt Harris (calf) and starting safety Pierson Prioleau (hamstring) to doubtful for tomorrow's game.

Hall likely is at least a few weeks away from playing, Coach Joe Gibbs said this week, and rookie Nick Novak will handle the field goals, extra points and kickoffs against the Seahawks.

Harris and Prioleau missed practice all week and although they will work out tomorrow morning, Williams said he is not counting on them being ready.

Williams said he is comfortable with the decision to carry only four cornerbacks, and can rotate several players into the nickel role. Safety Ryan Clark is ready to play after missing much of the past month, and Matt Bowen is expected to start in Prioleau's spot.

Safeties Sean Taylor and Omar Stoutmire could line up in the slot as well, with Ade Jimoh the only extra cornerback currently active. Williams did not rule out activating a defensive back -- either Dimitri Patterson or Curry Burns -- from the practice squad by tomorrow.

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