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Training Camp Tracker

Running back Marcus Mason is trying for a third time to stick with the Redskins.
Running back Marcus Mason is trying for a third time to stick with the Redskins. (By John Mcdonnell -- The Washington Post)
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Saturday, August 8, 2009

COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF

36

Days until the Redskins open the regular season Sept. 13 against the Giants in East Rutherford, N.J.

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TODAY'S SCHEDULE

When: Intrasquad scrimmage, 2 p.m. (gates open at noon)

Where: Redskins Park, Ashburn.

Admission, Parking: Free.

Updates: 703-726-7411

SUMMER STORY LINES | Marcus Mason

Washington Redskins training camp this summer marks Marcus Mason's third bid to earn a spot on the team's regular season roster as a running back. Two years ago he played well enough to spend the season on the practice squad. A strong preseason in 2008, in which he led the team in rushing, was rewarded with a pink slip.

And after a stint last year with the New York Jets, Mason is back in Washington, determined to earn a spot with his hometown team and play his first regular-season down. He grew up in Potomac and played in high school at Georgetown Prep in Bethesda -- but was not a Redskins fan, though; he pulled for the Cowboys -- but his desire to stay close to home doesn't mean he's willing to lounge on the practice squad again.

"I've done practice squad for two years," he said. "I'm looking for more now. I want to play in a game. That's my thing now. I've been on a roster before, I want to play in a game, now."

However, Mason, who played for Youngstown State of the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division 1-AA), faces a similar uphill climb to a roster spot as he did last season with the Redskins when he ran for 317 yards in five preseason games. Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts are mainstays, and Rock Cartwright, who won a spot last year, is back. Mason said Coach Jim Zorn, now in his second year with Washington, took him aside late last summer and told him the team couldn't take four running backs.

Despite the potential déjà vu situation, Mason said there is room at running back.

"I see myself playing running back and special teams," he said. "Especially as a young guy, you have to make a living on special teams."

That would presumably include returning kicks, a role Mason said he hasn't filled since high school.

Still, he said the Redskins must want him on the team, or else he wouldn't be spending his days in Ashburn.

"I look at it as they wouldn't have brought me back for no reason," Mason said. "Obviously they see some things in me, I just got to show it."

QUOTABLE

"Live is live so it's going to be a full scrimmage. There won't be a lot, so we're going to pick our plays and how we do it. Ones versus twos, twos versus ones, how many plays, all of that will be scripted. We'll be live except for the QB. We'll blow a quick whistle on him. We will punt, but it won't be live. We're going to get our coverage going. We're not going to do kickoffs. Our field goals and our extra points if we score will be involved and that will be a competitive situation for our kickers."

Coach Jim Zorn, on today's intrasquad scrimmage

NEXT UP

vs. Baltimore Ravens

When: Thursday, 7:30 p.m.

Where: M&T Bank Stadium


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