Springs and Vincent Return to Practice
Thursday, December 7, 2006
Two of the Washington Redskins' starting defensive backs returned to practice yesterday after missing Sunday's game with hamstring injuries, but a host of other regulars did not participate.
Shawn Springs said he feels better than he has all season and will play, and Troy Vincent, who has missed the last two games after earning a starting spot, was excited simply to be practicing again.
"Obviously, sitting on the sidelines the last few weeks has not been fun," Vincent said. "It's a position I'm not used to being in, and I just want to get back in there these last four weeks and try to contribute."
Vincent would love the opportunity to face his former employers, the Philadelphia Eagles, on Sunday at FedEx Field and is listed as probable. Springs is not on the injury list. However, tackle Jon Jansen (calf) and center Casey Rabach (shin) were out of training, and Jansen's problem has become more painful in recent weeks. Both were listed as probable, but Coach Joe Gibbs said Todd Wade would take Jansen's spot, if need be, and Jansen may require considerable rest this week.
"We'll have to see what happens at game time," Gibbs said of Jansen.
Tight end Todd Yoder (thigh) and cornerback Kenny Wright (knee) were not in uniform for practice, either, and were listed as probable. Linebacker Khary Campbell, who missed last week's game with a hamstring injury, was back in practice, too, but is questionable. Wide receiver David Patten (hamstring) is no longer on the injury list.
Betts Close to Extension
Running back Ladell Betts is close to agreeing to a contract extension with the Redskins, according to numerous NFL sources, and the Redskins are working hard to prevent the veteran from hitting the free agent market. Betts, a second-round pick in 2002, is having a career season filling in for injured tailback Clinton Portis and has an expanded role in Al Saunders's offense.
The Redskins began negotiations with Betts in the preseason, when he changed agents, and there have been a few times this season when a deal seemed imminent, according to sources with knowledge of the situation, but the sides have yet to sign anything. The pace of talks has picked up in recent weeks, however, and some sources have estimated that Betts could earn in the region of $6 million to $7 million guaranteed on a multiyear deal.
Gibbs said keeping Betts in Washington is a priority. Betts has an outside shot at producing a 1,000-yard season and has back-to-back 100-yard games.
Westbrook Still Burns
Eagles running back Brian Westbrook, a DeMatha High product, looks forward to every trip to the Washington area for games, and his thoughts often turn to one particular time when he gets ready to play at FedEx Field.
Westbrook, even more the focal point of Philadelphia's offense with quarterback Donovan McNabb out for the season, said he continues to gain motivation from those who thought he would never play college football, much less thrive in the NFL.
Westbrook has always been small, and said he made the ninth-grade team at DeMatha but only got on the field for a play or two.
"I was second string," Westbrook said during a conference call yesterday. "I barely played, if at all." Westbrook believed that his freshman coach, the late Dick Brown, who was at the school for more than 35 years, held his size against him, and he has been trying to prove others wrong ever since.
"He looked at my size and didn't give me a chance," Westbrook said. "That was disappointing to me."
Westbrook made the junior varsity as a sophomore and ended up going to college at Villanova after suffering a serious knee injury his senior season. The Eagles knew him well because of the franchise's proximity to Villanova and he has become one of the more versatile performers in the league. . . .
The Redskins signed defensive end Jamaal Green to the practice squad. He has played in eight games in his career, with one sack.