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  Ellard Joins the 800 Club; Gaines Back on the Front

By Richard Justice
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, November 24, 1997; Page D11

Redskins wide receiver Henry Ellard last night became the fifth player in NFL history to catch at least 800 passes. Only Jerry Rice (1,054), Art Monk (940), Steve Largent (819) and Andre Reed (821) are ahead of him on the all-time list.

Ellard began the night with 797 receptions and caught seven passes for 77 yards in a 7-7 tie with the New York Giants. He has 211 receptions since joining the Redskins in 1994.

Ellard moved back into the starting lineup last night, replacing Leslie Shepherd, who suffered a season-ending injury last week to his left wrist. Shepherd was the Redskins' leading wide receiver with 29 catches. Only tight end Jamie Asher, with 37 receptions, has more. Ellard also has 29.

"When you lose a guy like Shep, it's hard on your team," quarterback Gus Frerotte said. "You can count on Shep to do the right things, lining up in the right spots, running the right routes. The thing about it is, you've been working on timing with Shep all year, you've been working on throwing certain routes to him all year."

Gaines Returns
Redskins defensive tackle William Gaines returned to the starting lineup for the first time in nine weeks. He was inserted at left tackle, the spot that had been filled by Ryan Kuehl for the past three games.

Kuehl missed last night's game with a badly sprained ankle as the Redskins once more reworked their defensive line.

Gaines started the first two games of the season at right tackle and played left tackle for Game 5.

Marc Boutte started at the other tackle spot despite a sore knee. Chris Zorich was the primary backup at tackle, and Chris Mims was expected to play a bit despite a strained abdominal muscle.

Kenard Lang and Rich Owens started at defensive end for the third straight game. Jamal Duff was used as a backup after missing the past three games with a sprained ankle.

Finally, In Line
When the Redskins went to training camp, they expected to have an offensive line that would have Joe Patton at left tackle, Tre Johnson at left guard, Jeff Uhlenhake at center, Bob Dahl at right guard and Ed Simmons at right tackle.

Last night, the Redskins had that group on the field for the first time. For the first 11 weeks, a variety of injuries had forced line coach Russ Grimm to juggle his unit.

A shoulder injury forced Johnson to miss the first eight games. A knee problem sidelined Dahl for six of the first eight games. Simmons had missed the past three games with knee and leg injuries.

Simmons returned to the lineup last night for Shar Pourdanesh, giving the Redskins their projected starters. The good news in all the moving is that Pourdanesh and rookie guard Brad Badger played well when given a chance. But Coach Norv Turner was happy to have Simmons back.

It probably isn't being fair to Shar," Turner said, "but Ed's ready to play, and I want him to play. Ed's healthy and ready to go, and he's a big, physical run blocker, and he's a good player. Shar's played well. He's proven he's a starter in this league."

Dinner Is Served
Cornerback Cris Dishman is leading a group of 13 Redskins who will serve Thanksgiving dinners for the homeless tonight at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Herndon. About 150 people from area shelters will be served.

All but Perfect
The Giants are 4-0-1 against NFC East opponents. The only other NFL team unbeaten in its division is San Francisco (8-0) ...

It's been 26 years since the Redskins were involved in a tie game. On Nov. 7, 1971, at RFK Stadium, they played the Philadelphia Eagles to a 7-7 tie. Last night's was the second tie in the NFL this season, after Baltimore's 10-10 tie with Philadelphia on Nov. 16. Before this season, there hadn't been a tie game in the NFL since 1989.

© Copyright 1997 The Washington Post Company

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