Samuels Plays Through Pain of Friend's Fatal Accident

By Jason Reid and Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, September 5, 2008

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., Sept. 4 -- Despite the recent death of a friend at his home, Washington Redskins left tackle Chris Samuels started in last night's 16-7 loss to the New York Giants at Giants Stadium.

"It's been hard, it's been really hard, but God is seeing me through," Samuels said in the locker room after the game. "I'm just praying for the family."

Lashana Nicole Wilson, a lifelong friend of Samuels's girlfriend, was fatally injured Saturday when she lost control of an all-terrain vehicle and struck a tree on his Southern Maryland property. Samuels, according to police, was at the house at the time.

Wilson, 24, was visiting the residence and was not wearing a helmet, according to Charles County Sheriff's officers, who responded to the scene. "Nothing can get you through something like this but God and close friends and family. That's what you have to depend on at a time like this."

Taylor Guts It Out

Defensive end Jason Taylor missed the end of the preseason with a knee sprain but recovered to start and play the entire game. Taylor was making his debut with Washington after spending his entire career with Miami.

Taylor made his 131st straight start. He was acquired for a second-round pick and a sixth-round pick on the first day of camp, when the Redskins lost starting end Phillip Daniels for the season. Defensive coordinator Greg Blache said Taylor played despite serious discomfort.

"He's a Redskin," Blache said. "He's a warrior. I like this guy."

False Start for Heyer

Second-year tackle Stephon Heyer had the worst possible start to the season, being involved in a sack on the opening play, and then getting whistled for a false start two plays later. But the youngster, formerly an undrafted free agent out of Maryland, settled down for the most part following that.

"Getting used to the crowd and the noise is tough, but there's no excuses in this game," Heyer said.

Named the starter this week, Heyer replaced longtime stalwart Jon Jansen as the starting right tackle after getting his first shot to play as a rookie after Jansen was hurt. Jansen had never missed a game before because of a coaching decision but he watched from the sideline all of Thursday night.

Aches and Pains

The Redskins suffered a freak injury after the opening coin toss, and then lost a starter during the game as well. Linebacker Khary Campbell, a special teams captain, was on the field for the toss, and ended up with a quadriceps injury. Campbell had been suffering from a thigh injury, returning to practice early in the week, but the team said during the game that this injury was unrelated.

Campbell did not participate in the game, and with linebacker Albert Fincher inactive the team had just four linebackers available. One of them, Rocky McIntosh, is coming off of season-ending knee surgery, and another, Marcus Washington, battled hip discomfort during the end of training camp, leaving the team in less than ideal circumstances.

Washington lost cornerback Fred Smoot to a lower-back injury in the second half. Smoot was starting because Shawn Springs was out with a calf injury suffered in practice Monday.

Cornerback Carlos Rogers, however, was able to function normally and play nearly every down, a major milestone in his rapid comeback from reconstructive knee surgery last November.

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