CARLISLE, PA., JULY 28 -- Max Zendejas knows his chances of winning back his job are not particularly good. He realizes the mere mention of his name brings back bad memories to some of his teammates. He says he has a lot to prove, and he knows he must do it quickly or else look for a new job.
"I'm feeling really good and confident," the Redskins kicker said at Dickinson College. "I've been looking forward to this all summer."
Next week, when incumbent Jess Atkinson reports with the veterans, Zendejas will begin an uphill battle to erase the "embarrassment" of his mistakes in 1986, he said. The field-goal kicking job is Atkinson's unless he loses it, Coach Joe Gibbs said. But Zendejas remains undaunted.
"I'm looking forward to a game situation to show myself and the coaches I'm a better kicker than they've seen," he said after working out with the free agent kickers who are in camp this week.
Two years ago, Max's cousin, Tony, bitterly battled veteran Mark Moseley until Tony Zendejas was traded to Houston. The decision to trade Tony Zendejas still is a matter of debate with some team officials. Then last season, when Moseley couldn't pull himself out of a slump, the Redskins waived him and signed Max Zendejas, who made nine of 14 field goals but only 23 of 28 extra points before being put on injured reserve with a groin pull after a horrendous game in Denver in week 16.
"The key is not to worry about what happened last year," Zendejas said. "Mainly, I think it all happened because it was just my first year. I was a little too anxious to kick the ball. A minor mistake created some major problems for me. I was hurrying. This year, my steps are a little bit better and smoother."
Zendejas had a rocky season, missing three extra points against Minnesota and missing two field goals and an extra point against Denver. But his 27-yard field goal with four seconds left gave the Redskins a 20-17 victory in St. Louis and put them in the playoffs.
"The thing I'm most concerned about is getting my job back," Zendejas said. "I feel very confident about myself, that camp will go really well."
Zendejas said he has cleared the air with several teammates who criticized him after the game in Denver.
"That's over and done with; a little misunderstanding," the kicker said. "If they want to talk to me, that's fine."
"If I do well, if the Redskins don't keep me, someone will," he said.
Wide receivers Ricky Sanders and Clarence Verdin practiced today after missing some of Monday's drills with slight injuries, but wide receiver Derek Holloway sat out the workouts with an injured back. All three spent part of last season on injured reserve after joining the Redskins from the U.S. Football League. Obviously, the Redskins are beginning to become concerned the three are injury-prone.