Bridges Seeks Fresh Start

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Hoping to revive his career by joining the Washington Redskins, veteran offensive lineman Jeremy Bridges, arrested twice while with the Carolina Panthers, plans to prove "I'm not this animal that people think I am," he said yesterday at Redskins Park.

Bridges, who signed Sunday with Washington, addressed his previous legal troubles and expressed optimism about earning a spot on the opening 53-man roster after participating in organized team activities at the complex. Bridges, 29, has started 39 games in six NFL seasons, and Washington is expected to conduct auditions at right tackle during training camp.

"I'm definitely here competing for a spot. You don't come to work just to show up and clock in," Bridges said. "The ultimate goal in this league is to start and play. I've been doing that for years, and I'm not going to stop now."

There were "some unfortunate things I been through in Carolina, besides the good field play. I had a lot left. The thing about Carolina is they kind of frown on off-field incidents. I was unfortunate to have two of them when I was there."

Before training camp began in 2007, Bridges was arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault for allegedly pointing a gun at a woman in a strip club parking lot in Charlotte. Bridges was found guilty at trial and received a 60-day suspended sentence and one year of unsupervised probation. In addition, the court ordered Bridges to pay a $500 fine and participate in 60 hours of community service. The Panthers suspended him for two games at the start of the 2007 season.

In 2008, Bridges again was arrested in Charlotte and charged with simple assault and battery and communicating threats stemming from a confrontation at a restaurant during which Bridges shook a bottle of champagne, wetting the clothes of others around his table as they were sprayed. There also was an allegation that Bridges, who acknowledged he shook the champagne bottle while celebrating six months of marriage, got into a verbal confrontation with another patron and a physical confrontation with a bouncer. Bridges said that matter has been resolved in his favor, and the incident will be expunged from his record.

In February, the Panthers released Bridges, who signed with the team as an unrestricted free agent in 2006. Two arrests were too much for the Panthers to overlook, Bridges said.

"Things happen and I can't blame nobody but myself. If I wouldn't even have been in that situation then I wouldn't have been in the situation."

Bridges impressed during his minicamp tryout, coaches said, and he could compete with longtime starting tackle Jon Jansen and third-year player Stephon Heyer for the starting right tackle job.

"I'm going to compete for the right tackle spot," said Bridges, who is listed at 6 feet 4, 326 pounds. "That's just what it is. And it's all friendly competition. It's the NFL. That's what it's about. . . .

"I'm going to fight to do everything I can to make the team and contribute when I can."

Skolnitsky, Young Signed

The Redskins announced they signed defensive lineman J.D. Skolnitsky and linebacker Darrel Young, both of whom participated in the recent minicamp as tryouts.

Skolnitsky (6-5, 263 pounds) left school after three seasons at James Madison University. As a junior, he had 61 tackles, 4 1/2 sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.

Young (5-11, 248) started for four seasons at Villanova, where he had 73 tackles and two sacks last year.

-- Jason Reid

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