Team Faces Two Games And a Funeral In Five Days

By Jason Reid and Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Washington Redskins moved yesterday into foreign territory: preparing for a daunting five-day period in which they will play two games and attend the funeral of teammate Sean Taylor.

After playing the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, the team is tentatively scheduled to fly to Miami early Monday and return to Washington after the funeral. Players are expected to have the rest of the day off, then will begin preparing to play the Chicago Bears at FedEx Field on Thursday night. The Redskins will have one full practice Tuesday and a walk-through Wednesday.

It will take an enormous amount of preparation and organization for a team in mourning. At least at the first practice yesterday, the coaching staff was well prepared, players said.

"Our coaches are absolutely great," defensive end Andre Carter said. "They work extremely hard. With things like this, I don't know if you can quantify things or understand exactly what the effect is going to be. I know the coaches are totally dedicated. They stayed here beyond what they normally do."

The Redskins (5-6) are tied with the Philadelphia Eagles for third place in the NFC East. They have lost three consecutive games and four of five but still are in contention for a wild-card berth. With only five games remaining and the emotional and physical toll of this five-day stretch, it was essential for the Redskins to do "the things that we felt like we should do" yesterday when they returned to work, Gibbs said.

Thomas Returns to Practice

Guard Randy Thomas, one of the key players on the offense and a vocal team leader, practiced yesterday for the first time since tearing his triceps in the second week of the season.

Thomas said he is trying to work into game shape, and although he is not ruling out a return for Sunday's game against Buffalo, he admitted he still has much to do.

"I'll take it day-by-day and when it's time, it's time," he said. A return by Thursday's game against Chicago seems more likely, but Thomas said he is eager to rejoin the team.

"Hey, don't count me out" for Sunday, Thomas said. "I'm really looking forward to getting back on the field. I can't tell you when, but I'm looking to get back out there and get in the groove of it every week and try to progress. So you never know."

A bevy of Redskins missed practice, though most could return to the field by the end of the week. Guard Pete Kendall again rested his arthritic knees, as he has most weeks, while tailback Clinton Portis (sore back) is scheduled to return to practice today.

Wide receiver James Thrash, who has missed the last two weeks with a high-ankle sprain, did not practice, nor did fullback Mike Sellers, who injured his back in practice a week ago and has been unable to take part in drills since. Defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin sat out practice with his foot injury, but he has been playing through ankle pain the last few weeks.

Starting wide receivers Antwaan Randle El (hamstring) and Santana Moss (heel) were limited in practice. Randle El re-injured his hamstring early in Sunday's loss to Tampa Bay, while Moss has had lingering heel and hamstring problems. . . .

The Redskins re-signed wide receiver Jimmy Farris, cut offensive lineman Kevin Sampson and activated linebacker Matt Sinclair from the practice squad.

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