After 20 Years, Brown Calls End to His Career

By Howard Bryant and Eli Saslow
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, January 15, 2006

SEATTLE, Jan. 14 -- Even though he spent the last moments of his career grappling with a playoff loss, this is exactly how Ray Brown wanted it to end, he said. The Washington Redskins offensive lineman walked off the field satisfied and uninjured, convinced that -- despite a 20-10 loss -- he was leaving on top.

Brown, who sat out portions of Saturday's game because of cramps, announced his retirement with tears in his eyes after the game. He plans to stay a part of the Redskins organization, he said.

"I'll still go away from the game with a little confidence and arrogance that I can still play with these guys, but I know I'm done," Brown said. "I'm glad I can stand upright and tell you that I'm done. I'm satisfied with my career. I really am."

Brown, 43, played in the NFL for 20 years, signing with the Redskins as a free agent before the 2004 season. He played for Washington for five years earlier in his career.

The charismatic guard ended his career the same way he had spent most of it: as a starter. Before this season, he had started at least 14 games in every season since 1993. That he suffered cramps Saturday, Brown said, counted as another sign that all that playing time had worn him down.

"It's been a great, long career," Brown said. "I've taken so much. Now it's my time to try to give some time, to my family and everything else."

Arrington Farewell?

It was not lost on linebacker LaVar Arrington that he may have played his final game with the Redskins.

Arrington was credited with two tackles, and though he was not on the official stat sheet, he was in on the tackle that knocked Seattle running back Shaun Alexander out of the game with a concussion. Arrington did not want to discuss his future except to say it was his hope that the club would bring him back.

"I'm not going to answer any questions about the future. It's not time for that," Arrington said. "I think this team is heading in the right direction. I think it has big things in front of it and I hope I'm going to be a part of it."

Arrington endured perhaps the most difficult year of his career. He was healthy to start the season but was largely benched for the first quarter of the season. When he did play, he did not play on third down, though he is best known as a pass-rushing linebacker.

The financial case against Arrington most likely is a daunting one. Arrington will count about $12 million against the salary cap and is due a $6.5 million roster bonus if he is on the roster July 1.

Alexander Is Okay

Alexander, still woozy from a first-half concussion, dressed quickly and left the stadium without talking to reporters.

Still, the Seahawks didn't seem too concerned about his availability for next week's NFC championship game. Seattle Coach Mike Holmgren pointed to an extra day of preparation (because yesterday's game was Saturday and next week's is on a Sunday) and said he thought Alexander would be sufficiently recovered.

"There are grades of concussions," Holmgren said. "I think if I showed him a picture of a truck he would say it was a truck and not a butterfly."

Alexander, the league's most valuable player, was knocked out of the game on a running play when he attempted to cut back on second and six from his 39 late in the first quarter.

Arrington and Cornelius Griffin were waiting and crunched Alexander as he attempted to dive forward. Alexander remained on the ground for several moments before walking off the field with 4 minutes 38 seconds left in the quarter. At halftime, the Seahawks announced Alexander would not return. He left the game with nine yards on six carries.

Things got worse for the Seahawks. On third and nine from the Redskins 47, Mack Strong took a three-yard gain off right tackle. Wide receiver Darrell Jackson was called for an illegal block above the waist and injured his back in the process. He left the game with 58 seconds left in the quarter.

Jackson returned in the second quarter, gaining a key first down on third and 10 from his 26, a play that kept the 10-play drive alive. Later, Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck hit Jackson for a 29-yard touchdown. Jackson finished the game with a franchise playoff-record 143 yards receiving. . . .

The hits continued on special teams. Redskins punt returner Antonio Brown fielded a punt inside his 10 and made one move before being clobbered by cornerback Jordan Babineaux.

Brown stayed down for a moment and got up briefly before falling to one knee. Eventually, Brown ran to the sideline under his own power.

On special teams, cornerback Ade Jimoh flattened Seattle punt returner Jimmy Williams twice. The Seahawks fumbled four times in the first half, losing two.

Springs Returns

The Redskins' defense was back to nearly full capacity. Shawn Springs started at right corner after missing last week's game with a strained right groin. Along with Brown, Springs played for most of the game before cramping.

"I think I came out all right," Springs said. "The reason for the cramps wasn't the travel or the flight or anything. I think it was because I still didn't have a normal week of practice. I haven't been right."

Like the Eagles in the season finale, the Seahawks tested Springs early, hitting Jackson for 37 yards on the third play of the game.

Wide receiver James Thrash was inactive with a broken thumb. Thrash did not practice during the week. The Redskins had said they believed Thrash might be able to play if the medical staff could create a special cast or splint for him.

Taylor Jacobs started at wide receiver and caught three passes for 19 yards.

Demetric Evans started at left end for injured Renaldo Wynn (broken forearm).

Staff writer Les Carpenter contributed to this report.

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