The Washington Redskins got their first training camp look at another team today, as the Pittsburgh Steelers participated in a joint afternoon practice. The intensity level was unusually high for the Redskins for this point in the year, and coaches and players say they're beginning to get a positive feeling about the upcoming season.
"This team has something about it, a sense that we added the right people talent-wise and character-wise coupled with what we had and coupled with the new leadership," veteran cornerback Darrell Green said. "Now we just have to watch it come to fruition."
The Redskins and Steelers used two fields at Frostburg State, giving each team's offense a chance to go against the other club's defense.
"It's not game intensity, but it was good today," Redskins Coach Norv Turner said. ". . . You go seven or eight days hitting your own guys, it's good to hit someone else."
Redskins owner Daniel Snyder made his second visit to training camp, winning praise from his players. "He set the tone with his statements, and with getting guys into camp on time," Green said. "He's not just talk. He's backing it up."
Redskins Hire Maroon
The Redskins announced the hiring of John Maroon as their vice president and director of public and community relations.
Maroon had been the public relations director of the Baltimore Orioles for the past five years. He previously had worked in the public relations departments of the American League and the Cleveland Indians.
Snyder dismissed public relations director Mike McCall and most of McCall's staff last month on the same day he fired approximately 25 employees. The Redskins hired John Konoza to replace McCall, but he quit on his third day with the team to return to a former job.
Snyder's main public relations person at Snyder Communications Inc., Karl Swanson, had been handling the Redskins' duties on an interim basis.
Steelers owner Dan Rooney spoke briefly with Snyder during today's joint practice. Afterward, Rooney, who had spoken publicly about his wish that John Kent Cooke had been able to keep the Redskins in his family, was asked to assess Snyder's first few weeks as an NFL owner.
"He's doing okay, from what I see, so far," Rooney said.
Asked if he recalled a more tumultuous first two days by an NFL owner, Rooney said: "Basically, probably I would say no. But you're at a different time in the whole realm of things. We used to have three people that worked for us. Times have moved on. I have to say this: He has a job to do, he's looking at it, and hopefully he's doing what he thinks is the right thing, and it'll work for him."
News & Notes
Veteran linebacker Ken Harvey is scheduled to participate in his first practice Wednesday. Team officials plan to take a few weeks to evaluate whether they think Harvey, 34, can still be effective as a pass-rush specialist. . . . Defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson sat out today's practices after suffering a sprained ankle on Monday. Trainer Bubba Tyer said he does not expect Wilkinson to practice Wednesday, either, but Wilkinson indicated he's not particularly concerned about the injury. . . .
Turner said he's pleased with the progress of first-round draft pick Champ Bailey, who mostly has played cornerback with the second-string defense while veteran Darryl Pounds and Green line up as starters.
"He's handling things extremely well," Turner said. "At some point in the next few days we're going to give Darrell Green some rest, so we'll probably move Darryl Pounds over to the other side and get Champ in there" with the starters.