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Lefotu Returns After Frightening Incident

By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Washington Redskins rookie offensive lineman Kili Lefotu was back at practice yesterday, six days after losing consciousness for unknown reasons, an episode that left him fearful for his life, he said. Lefotu, a seventh-round pick in April's draft, was rushed to the hospital last Wednesday after failing to appear for practice, and the cause of the problem remains unknown.

Lefotu, 22, said he was cleared to play in Saturday's preseason game against the New York Jets at FedEx Field, and still is awaiting results from several medical tests. Lefotu said he began to feel better Friday, when he was becoming more alert with his mother by his side at the hospital.

"She told me my family was behind me 100 percent, and I have nothing to worry about," Lefotu said. "And I'm a mama's boy, so that was comforting. I'm just glad to be out here today playing the game I love, and thankful to be alive."

Lefotu said he has almost no memory of last Wednesday, but "I felt pretty good today coming in and practicing."

Hellos and Goodbyes

The Redskins signed linebacker Jeff Posey, running back A.J. Harris and offensive lineman Spencer Folau yesterday, and released a trio of injured players -- linebacker Chris Clemons (knee), running back Kerry Carter (knee) and defensive back Ben Emanuel (knee).

Posey played under secondary-cornerbacks coach Jerry Gray when Gray was defensive coordinator in Buffalo, and likely would begin as a backup to strong-side linebacker Marcus Washington, linebackers coach Dale Lindsey said. "That's probably where he's best suited for today, but tomorrow that might be different," Lindsey said.

Folau is an eight-year veteran whose experience was coveted given the inexperience of the second-string offensive line. He can play any position except center, offensive line coach Joe Bugel said, and will begin as the backup right tackle. "We needed a veteran to come in who is smart," Bugel said. "It's a big pickup for us."

Harris is an undrafted free agent rookie from Northern Illinois who impressed the coaching staff at a spring tryout, but did not get a contract then. Given the injuries to the Redskins' running backs, he was brought back.

Extension for Betts?

Veteran running back Ladell Betts, who returned to practice from a hamstring injury yesterday, confirmed that preliminary discussions with the Redskins about a contract extension are under way. Betts, the primary backup for injured franchise running back Clinton Portis, is eligible for free agency in the offseason, and, despite believing he has the skills to be a starter in the NFL, is happy in Washington.

"I'm definitely open to staying here," said Betts, a second-round pick in 2002. "The Redskins were the first team to give me an opportunity to play NFL football, so I'm definitely willing to listen."

Betts recently switched agents, signing with Tony Agnone, and Coach Joe Gibbs said there has been some contact between Agnone and director of football administration Eric Schaffer.

"We like Ladell," Gibbs said. "We always want to sign all of our good football players."

Bumps and Bruises

Portis, out for at least the preseason with a partially dislocated left shoulder, was out of his shoulder sling yesterday and in a harness. "Going throughout the day when I'm active, it's okay," Portis said. "But at night, once it gets stiff and locks up, it hurts." . . .

Starting defensive end Phillip Daniels left practice with a stiff back, but Gibbs said the injury does not appear serious. . . .

Reserve running back Jesse Lumsden (hip) returned to practice, but cornerback Ade Jimoh (sternum) and defensive lineman Nic Clemons (knee) are among the 11 players still out. . . .

Reserve offensive lineman Jim Molinaro, who had knee surgery last week, is walking around without crutches. . . .

The Redskins have no more public practices this preseason.

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