Fullback Larry Centers wanted to be more involved in the Washington Redskins' offense. He's getting his wish.
Centers had nine catches in the Redskins' 20-17 overtime win over the Philadelphia Eagles yesterday at FedEx Field, after catching six passes the previous Sunday in a victory over the New York Giants. Centers was the Redskins' leading receiver in each game. Prior to the Giants game, he had expressed frustration about his lack of involvement in the team's offense.
"This was definitely my type of game--down in the trenches," said Centers, who is two catches behind wide receiver Albert Connell for the club lead for the season. "As a team, we pulled together and did what it took."
The Redskins have struggled this season to get Centers and third-down running back Brian Mitchell involved in the offense. Each contributed yesterday, with Mitchell following up a 45-yard kickoff return late in the fourth quarter with a 14-yard run.
"It's hard to have both of them in the game a lot together," Redskins Coach Norv Turner said. "We mixed it up. Larry Centers ended up catching a lot of balls. Brian caught balls, and helped us with the third-down runs. They're both good football players, and they're veteran players that know what it takes when the game is on the line."
The Redskins also mixed Mitchell and James Thrash successfully on kickoff returns yesterday. Thrash had a 48-yard return on the opening kickoff of overtime to set up Brett Conway's game-winning field goal.
"I'm excited about the way we returned the ball," Turner said. "We've worked hard to improve in that area. I think the mix of Brian and James takes a little pressure off Brian."
Fryar Dials 800
Veteran wide receiver Irving Fryar's second catch of the game, a three-yard reception in the second quarter, was the 800th of his career--and it came against his former team, the Eagles.
Fryar is seventh in NFL history in career catches, trailing sixth-place Henry Ellard, the former Redskin, who had 814 catches.
"It took long enough," said Fryar, who came out of retirement to join the Redskins this season. "The fact that I was retired makes all of this gravy. I didn't imagine that I would be back playing with these guys and with this team."
Playing with a scaled-down cast on his broken right thumb, wide receiver Michael Westbrook made four catches for 51 yards.
While Westbrook didn't gain many yards after his catches, he was plenty physical in shaking off safety Brian Dawkins and cornerback Bobby Taylor on two occasions.
Taylor got the better of him in the third quarter, intercepting a pass from Brad Johnson.
Johnson insisted Westbrook's injury hasn't inhibited his approach to the offense or any of his throws.
"He has been catching every ball that I have been throwing to him," Johnson said. "We are still calling the plays the same. We haven't tried to change our offense at all because of Michael's [injury]."
With Shawn Barber continuing to be bothered by a sprained right shoulder, Eddie Mason received considerable playing time at linebacker.
"Shawn's the starter, and I'm the backup," Mason said. "There's no animosity between us. I played a lot. It's nice to contribute."