Defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson missed the first session of the second week of workouts for the Washington Redskins yesterday -- and neither head coach Norv Turner nor defensive line coach Rubin Carter knew why.
"We're in a volunteer camp," Turner said after about a two-hour session. "But this is the first player we've had miss. I'll find out, at some point, why he wasn't here."
"He didn't call this morning," Carter said. "I didn't hear him say anything [about pending problems], haven't heard from him yet."
Turner seemed irritated that Wilkinson did not at least phone him or one of the coaches to explain his absence.
"I don't think this is any big deal," Wilkinson's agent, Jim Gould, said during a phone interview. "I don't see any reason in the world."
Gould had not spoken with Wilkinson as of late yesterday and was uncertain whether he would attend today's workout. He said Wilkinson returned to Columbus, Ohio, after last week's session to be with his family "on personal business."
The workouts ran from Monday through Friday last week and end Thursday.
The 6-foot-5, 295-pound Wilkinson was acquired Feb. 26, 1998, from the Cincinnati Bengals for first- and third-round draft choices. The Redskins expected him to team with tackle Dana Stubblefield, signed as an unrestricted free agent from the San Francisco 49ers three days earlier, to form the core of an exceptional defense.
That did not happen, in large part because opponents directed their ground games away from Wilkinson and Stubblefield and to the flanks. Stubblefield missed the final nine games with a knee injury. But the Redskins were 6-3 during that stretch -- and Wilkinson elevated his play in many of those games.
Wilkinson took part in more plays, 1,037, than any other defensive tackle in the NFL and led the Redskins in quarterback sacks with 7 1/2. His 50 quarterback hurries were 30 more than the second-best Redskin in that category, rookie end Kenard Lang.