By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 31, 2007
JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Aug. 30 -- Many of the seminal moments in Mark Brunell's career -- and life -- took place in Jacksonville. It's also where the 15-year veteran became a Pro Bowler, where he received his final preseason opportunity to stake a claim to being the Washington Redskins' backup passer and, according to a broadcast report, where he played his final game for the team.
Brunell, fighting for the No. 2 quarterback job, was the subject of an inquiry by the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday, sources said, but no deal was completed after Washington's 31-14 loss to the Jaguars at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium. The Redskins could still deal him with roster cuts looming Saturday -- Atlanta expressed some interest weeks ago -- although the market for the 36-year-old is not deep.
Thursday, Jason Campbell started and played just one series before Brunell jogged out before a crowd that used to cheer his name. He played the better part of two quarters and went 5 for 6 for 47 yards and a touchdown, with a nearly perfect rating, albeit against second-string opposition, giving Gibbs something to think about. Brunell, who remains beloved here for taking the Jaguars to the AFC championship game, spent Wednesday night catching up with old friends and had a legion of associates asking for tickets to the game.
"It feels great," Brunell said afterward. "I have a lot of great memories here. The people were very welcoming."
Sources close to Brunell said the veteran had been told nothing about a trade being completed, or even close, after the game. Collins has outplayed him this preseason, but the other option for a third quarterback -- rookie Jordan Palmer -- is nowhere close to being ready for the NFL and went 2 for 8 for 10 yards with an interception (returned for a touchdown) and a rating of 0.0 in more than a half of work.Blaylock on Injured Reserve
The Redskins placed running back Derrick Blaylock, who had a strong shot of making the team, on injured reserve with a lingering heel problem before the game and re-signed veteran Dee Brown. Blaylock, who performed well in this system for associate head coach Al Saunders in Kansas City, had been the third-string back, while Brown was signed to get the team through the Jacksonville game and is not expected to merit a final roster spot.
Teams must trim to 53 players by Saturday, and Blaylock was expected to be one of the four running backs retained. Clinton Portis (knee tendinitis) is still working his way back from a long absence, Ladell Betts is coming off a strong preseason and return specialist Rock Cartwright has shone on occasion, but the coaches have preferred having four backs and could look for other options. Rookie Marcus Mason, a D.C. native, has had an impressive camp (he carried a heavy load against the Jaguars), but the practice squad seemed like a likely destination before Blaylock's injury. Blaylock went for a second opinion on his heel and could still return to the Redskins under certain circumstances; should both sides agree to an injury settlement, Blaylock could be re-signed six weeks after he is healthy, according to NFL rules.Wanted: Wide Receiver
The Redskins, unable to improve their depth at wide receiver despite numerous recent signings, have spoken to several teams about help, sources said, and will scan the waiver wire after Saturday's cuts. They discussed Doug Gabriel before Oakland released him, league sources said, and could still pursue him as a free agent. . . . There has been little recent movement in attempts to sign tight end Chris Cooley to a contract extension, sources said, with discussions ongoing through the preseason. . . . Valuable reserve linebacker Khary Campbell (hamstring) was a late scratch. . . . With the acquisition of Pete Kendall, tackle Todd Wade's ill-fated transition to guard is over, and he was back at right tackle with the second team. . . . Linebacker Marcus Washington (dislocated elbow) was out and is aiming to be back for the season opener. . . . Derrick Frost mis-hit a punt in the second half, leading to a Jacksonville touchdown. . . . Cornerbacks John Eubanks (hamstring) and Leigh Torrence (cramps), both fighting for a final roster spot, were forced from the game in the second half. . . . Fullback Fred Beasley made his Redskins debut.