The Washington Redskins moved to shore up the protection for quarterback Brad Johnson yesterday by signing veteran left tackle Andy Heck and today team officials will get a look at what Charles Haley has to offer when the former Dallas defensive end works out at Redskin Park.
Haley, once considered one of the game's best pass rushers, had quit playing partly because of a history of back trouble. But he intends to play this season and worked out this week for San Francisco and Carolina. Like the Redskins, those teams envision using him on a limited basis, primarily as a third-down pass rusher.
Heck, 6 feet 6 and 298 pounds, received a one-year contract worth $450,000, as well as a $150,000 signing bonus. The 32-year-old unrestricted free agent is expected to vie with Joe Patton and Shar Pourdanesh for the job as starting left tackle, the player charged with protecting a right-handed quarterback's blind side.
"We've added an experienced player, a player who has been a starter," Turner said of Heck. "He's a good pass protector. He's a guy who's going to come in and compete for a job. When everything is settled, I think it'll help us end up with the best left tackle we could end up with."
The Redskins surrendered a franchise-record 61 sacks last season en route to a 6-10 record. Second-year player Brad Badger began the season at left tackle, but Turner shuffled his offensive line after Game 10, installing Pourdanesh and then Patton in Badger's spot.
A Fairfax native and graduate of W.T. Woodson High School, Heck is entering his 11th NFL season. Seattle selected him in the first round of the 1989 draft (15th overall). He played most recently for Chicago, starting 76 of his 80 games for the Bears at left tackle. He started 14 games last season, missing Weeks 4 and 5 with a broken right big toe.
Patton also has played guard, and Pourdanesh has played right tackle. But Jon Jansen, the Redskins' second-round draft pick from Michigan, is projected at right tackle.
Turner also announced new titles for longtime assistants Bobby Jackson and Terry Robiskie. Jackson, 59, the team's running backs coach, becomes running game coordinator, and Robiskie, 44, the former receivers coach, becomes passing game coordinator. Turner remains the team's offensive coordinator.