Veteran Brian Hansen apparently failed to dislodge injured Pro Bowler Matt Turk as the Washington Redskins' punter today.
Hansen won the six-way competition late last week to be today's replacement for Turk, who has a broken finger on his left hand. Turk didn't make the trip here and was on the Redskins' inactive list. Redskins officials are furious with him because they suspect he might have suffered his injury playing recreational basketball last Monday--rather than during last weekend's game at Arizona, as he told club officials.
The Redskins may fine Turk or withhold his game check, but team officials seem likely to give him his job back.
Hansen apparently had a chance to win the job today, but didn't punt well during the Redskins' 38-20 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. He averaged 38.2 yards on his six punts, and many of them were low, returnable line drives.
Deion Sanders had a 70-yard punt return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
"We were trying to kick away from Deion," Redskins Coach Norv Turner said. " . . . We kicked a low, short kick to Deion Sanders. Anyone in this league knows that's not real good."
Turner and owner Daniel M. Snyder met for approximately half an hour following the game as the Redskins kept their locker room closed to reporters. Snyder and Turner didn't rule out the possibility of making changes, but it didn't appear tonight that any changes to Turner's coaching staff were likely.
"We discussed a number of things," Turner said. "We were talking about where our football team is and what we have to do to get to a point where, when we're in this type of game, we respond as an organization--players, coaches, everyone--so we don't put ourselves in this situation."
Turner added: "When you get in this situation, you look at every possible way of getting yourself better. If we want to get done what we want to get done, and get it done over a long period of time, we have to find a way to get ready to play in this type of game."
The Redskins maintained that Sanders's touchdown should have been nullified because Mike Sellers was blocked in the back illegally by the Cowboys' Robert Thomas. "I had position on him," Sellers said. "That was the worst thing about it. I was getting my feet set and everything, and then I got hit from behind." . . .
Running back Stephen Davis had his least productive day of the season, gaining 62 yards on 14 carries.
Davis's first positive yardage didn't come until 6 minutes 13 seconds into the second quarter, when he gained nine yards up the middle before being brought down by Darren Woodson. . . .
Dallas running back Emmitt Smith moved past Barry Sanders today and into second on the NFL's all-time carry list. Smith's 24 carries boosted his career toal to 3,064. Sanders has 3,062. Walter Payton holds the NFL record, with 3,838.
Former South African president Nelson Mandela attended today's game and sat in Dallas owner Jerry Jones's private box at Texas Stadium. After the game, Mandela went to the Cowboys' locker room, where a number of Dallas players got his autograph and posed for pictures with him.
Staff writer Leonard Shapiro contributed to this report.