By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, July 28, 2007
First-round draft pick LaRon Landry missed the opening of training camp yesterday while his agent continued contract negotiations with the Washington Redskins, but his absence is not expected to last significantly longer. Coach Joe Gibbs said he believes the sides are close and does not anticipate the sixth overall pick being away from Redskins Park too long.
"I would be disappointed if it took more than a couple of days," Gibbs said. "I think it's close."
All signs pointed to a deal nearing, and sources close to Landry have echoed Gibbs's optimism. However, as Gibbs pointed out repeatedly yesterday, agents are often loath to reach an agreement contract before the player selected just before them has. As of last night the fifth overall pick remained unsigned. Landry, who starred at LSU, has the talent to start right away, and the Redskins have big plans for him.
Getting into camp quickly and in good shape is imperative, though, and defensive coaches are notoriously hard on young players. Pierson Prioleau started alongside safety Sean Taylor yesterday in practice, making a full recovery after suffering a serious knee injury on the opening kickoff of 2006.Players Return From Injuries
The Redskins began training camp essentially at full health, but maintaining that status and managing the legion of players recovering from long-term injuries will not be easy. A slew of starters will be trying to overcome surgeries, and several veterans underwent multiple procedures, making the first weeks of camp particularly tricky.
Linebacker Marcus Washington, for instance, had surgery on his hip and knee; the hip injury has the potential to be recurring and Washington must resist the urge to be part of every practice session. Trainers and surgeons have advised Washington to be honest and candid about how he is feeling and to take time off accordingly.
"I'll try to be smart," Washington said. "That's tough for me, but I'll try."
Wide receiver Santana Moss was hobbled much of the offseason with groin and hamstring problems, and though he says he is feeling well now, the Redskins will be judicious with how much work he takes on early. Moss has a long history of hamstring issues and they can develop into lingering problems. Tailback Clinton Portis missed most of last season with hip and hand injuries, then injured his knee in the offseason. Cornerback Shawn Springs (sports hernia) said he has been healthy since March, but yesterday was his first full practice since last year, as he was not in town for much of the offseason program.
Defensive lineman Phillip Daniels and Renaldo Wynn were cleared for their first full practices of the offseason yesterday, guard Randy Thomas is back from recent knee surgery and backup quarterback Mark Brunell is back from shoulder surgery. Keeping them healthy is the biggest chore. Thomas (knee) suffered the only injury yesterday; he will be evaluated today.
"The more players that go into the season healthy, the better chance you have," Portis said.Extra Points
Gibbs said the Redskins have not discussed signing free agent defensive end Simeon Rice and have no current plans to sign him. Washington struggled to get to the quarterback last season, but Rice's health, deteriorating play and attitude are concerns to some football people at Redskins Park, sources said. . . . Gibbs's address to the team focused on playing smarter football and being more physical, players said. The number of penalties, lack of turnovers and small margin of defeat were all mentioned, too.