By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, September 14, 2006
After sending a potential game-tying kick well wide of the uprights Monday night, John Hall turned to his family for support. Hall, injured much of the last two seasons and erratic in the preseason, said he remains confident in his abilities after chatting with his wife and teammates and believes he can put the miss behind him.
"It's like a kick in the groin, a kick in the gut," Hall said. "It's an awful feeling. But you have to wake up the next day and move on."
Hall said that seeing his baby son the next morning helped him begin to let go of the disappointment from Monday night. His 48-yard kick sailed far left of the mark, and the Vikings began celebrating a 19-16 win on the sideline.
"I'm not concerned about the distance or anything," Hall said. "I just have to hit it straight."
Hall faced intense pressure on the first Monday night game of the regular season with a crowd of more than 90,000 fans watching on the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Hall was playing for the New York Jets in September 2001 and has spent the last four years in Washington, giving him a link to the cities most directly affected by the attacks.
"It was a very important night for me," Hall said of Monday. "And a very important night for a couple of cities I've played in."
Hall's family reinforced the fact that one kick does not define a career, or even a season, and he has gradually adopted that philosophy himself. "You can't harp on it too much," Hall said. "My wife and I had a really positive talk about it being just one kick. I get great support from my teammates and coaches and you just move on."
Hall has yet to connect on a field goal of 40 yards or longer this summer in scrimmage, preseason or a regular season game, and no longer handles kickoffs after missing 14 games with leg injuries the last two years. He had offseason abdominal surgery and, with his performance in question, Coach Joe Gibbs faces regular inquiries into the state of the kicking game. Gibbs, however, has voiced nothing but support for Hall.Burns Is Re-signed
The Redskins re-signed safety Curry Burns and placed safety Pierson Prioleau on injured reserve with season-ending knee surgery upcoming. Burns was cut during training camp but knows the system and could adapt quickly in a short week with a big game Sunday night in Dallas. The team also worked out free agent defensive back Deke Cooper and could opt to sign him as well.
Prioleau performed well as a nickel back last season and the secondary struggled Monday without him and cornerback Shawn Springs. Burns, 25, could end up dressing for Sunday's game with rookie Reed Doughty and veteran Vernon Fox, signed late in training camp, the only other reserve safeties.Springs Update
Springs, who says he does not think he can play Sunday while recovering from abdominal surgery, worked hard with trainers during practice, doing lateral-movement and sprinting drills. Running back Clinton Portis suffered no setbacks on his injured shoulder, Gibbs said, but was rested for much of yesterday's practice. Defense lineman Renaldo Wynn (ankle) practiced fully and should play, Gibbs said. . . . Running back T.J. Duckett said he is unsure if he will get his first carry with the team Sunday after being stuck on the sideline Monday night. Duckett was acquired from Atlanta during training camp for a draft pick, and is still learning the system. "We'll find out as the week goes down," said Duckett, a former first-round pick. "You never know what's going to happen." . . .
Tackle Jon Jansen, who was outspoken about the prevalence of banned substances in the NFL, said he has yet to hear from league officials about a proposed meeting to discuss the topic. "I'm sure I'll hear from them at some time," Jansen said, "and I'm looking forward to the dialogue."Can You Hear Me Now?
The Vikings asked the NFL yesterday to investigate a sudden disruption of their communications system early in Monday night's 19-16 victory over Washington, a failure that forced them to send in plays manually.
According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Coach Brad Childress asked Ray Anderson, the NFL's senior vice president of football operations, to "take a peek at" the problem. Childress stopped far short of suggesting sabotage, but he said two experts could find nothing wrong with the Vikings' equipment.