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After 4 Seasons With Redskins, Place Kicker Hall Is Released

Thursday, March 8, 2007

The Washington Redskins released place kicker John Hall yesterday, forcing Coach Joe Gibbs to part with one of the players to whom he was closest.

The move was not unexpected, and as the Redskins still look for options at tight end and left guard, it saved the club $1.5 million against the $109 million salary cap. According to team sources, Hall told teammates he had requested his release as it appeared clear over the past few weeks that he would be cut. Hall, 32, suffered through an injury-marred season during which he never quite seemed to recover from offseason groin surgery.

Despite favoring Hall, a 10-year veteran who will turn 33 a week from Saturday, Gibbs began training camp last season unsure how Hall would respond to surgery, which was similar to the procedure cornerback Shawn Springs underwent after he was injured on the first defensive series of the first preseason game last August in Cincinnati. The Redskins brought in Tyler Jones to compete with Hall during preseason, but Jones never attempted a kick and was cut Aug. 28.

Hall withstood the training camp challenge, but did not fare well. In a 19-16 opening night home loss to Minnesota, Hall missed a 48-yard kick at the end of regulation that would have sent the game into overtime. Hall missed a big kick Oct. 8 at New York, a game in which he was clearly injured. Punter Derrick Frost handled kickoffs and Hall was not available in the second half. After five games, he was placed on injured reserve. He was 9 of 11 on the season.

The Redskins first signed Nick Novak, who was waived after hitting only 5 of 10 field goals over six games, and then Shaun Suisham, who impressed Gibbs by missing his first attempt with the Redskins before converting his final eight over the last five games of the season.

Hall was acquired in 2003, after spending the first six years of his career with the New York Jets. In those six seasons, Hall played in 95 of 96 games, missing one game in 2000. After playing in all 16 games in his first year with the Redskins, he played in just 23 of 48. . . .

With starting tackle positions limited, the Redskins still could re-sign veteran lineman Todd Wade. The New York Jets are believed to have interest. . . . Free agent guard Edwin Mulitalo, released by Baltimore yesterday, also could be in contention to replace left guard Derrick Dockery, who signed a $49 million free agent contract with Buffalo. Mulitalo, 32, is an eight-year veteran who played his entire career with the Ravens and was a member of the 2001 Super Bowl championship team. The Redskins also have expressed mild interest in guard Zach Wiegert, who spent last season with Houston.

-- Howard Bryant

and Jason La Canfora

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