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Johnson Gets a Chance to Kick in Workout, Then Gets the Boot

By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Washington Redskins signed punter Eddie Johnson yesterday afternoon after a workout to compete with incumbent Derrick Frost -- and then released him after one practice. Johnson said his leg felt tired after kicking so much, and the Redskins could still opt to sign another punter in the coming days. The exhibition finale is tomorrow against Baltimore at FedEx Field.

Johnson beat out NFL veteran Toby Gowin in the morning workout at Redskins Park, league sources said, but the team could opt to bring Gowin back. Johnson, who has missed significant time in the past with hip flexor injuries, was unable to finish the afternoon practice, according to his agent, Ken Harris, after kicking off and punting well in the morning. With the Redskins nearing the end of the preseason, the team decided it was best to cut ties with him quickly, and Johnson left with a large ice pack around his upper leg.

"I understand 100 percent," Harris said. "I have so much respect for [special teams coach] Danny Smith and his decision."

Johnson was to interview for a sales-rep job for a gym near his home in Arizona when the Redskins called his agent Monday. He spent the 2005 training camp with Jacksonville and was a sixth-round pick by Minnesota in 2003.

Frost, who has been erratic since winning the punting job a year ago, has said he expects other punters to be brought in to compete. Frost also is handling kickoff duties in place of oft-injured place kicker John Hall and has not had good results. Gowin, 31, has eight seasons of NFL experience and was cut by Jacksonville earlier this month.

The Redskins also signed safety Vernon Fox, a fifth-year player who spent parts of the last two seasons with Detroit. Washington released running back Jesse Lumsden, a star in the Canadian Football League who opened camp strong but barely appeared in the preseason games, and cornerback Dimitri Patterson.

Starters Get a Break

Wide receiver Santana Moss sat out yesterday's practice as a precaution with what Coach Joe Gibbs said was stiffness in the upper leg. Gibbs said the team could opt to rest Moss for tomorrow night, but was not concerned. "We just wanted to rest him," Gibbs said. "He rarely if ever misses anything, so we wanted to take caution on that."

Most of the defensive linemen also sat out yesterday's practice, making it all but certain they will not play tomorrow. Renaldo Wynn (ankle), Cornelius Griffin (knee), Demetric Evans (infected wisdom tooth) and Phillip Daniels (back) are injured; Griffin was on the field but not in pads, and he took part in minor drills. Linebacker Robert McCune (hamstring), a 2005 draft pick who has been on the bubble, remained out, while running back Clinton Portis (partially dislocated shoulder) and cornerback Shawn Springs (abdominal surgery) are recovering from long-term injuries.

Fullback Mike Sellers returned to practice after missing one session with a stomach virus, and linebacker Khary Campbell (knee) was back as well. . . .

Former Maryland and Redskins place kicker Nick Novak cleared waivers yesterday afternoon and flew to Green Bay for a tryout. The Redskins, he said, have not contacted him. He was waived Monday by Arizona.

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