Center Cory Raymer felt better yesterday and likely will be in the Washington Redskins' lineup for Saturday's NFC semifinal at Tampa Bay, Coach Norv Turner said.
Raymer suffered a pulled muscle in his side during the Redskins' first-round playoff victory over the Detroit Lions on Saturday at FedEx Field. Raymer completed that game, and Turner said he doesn't expect to have to give backup center Mark Fischer his first NFL start against the Buccaneers.
Trainer Bubba Tyer said Raymer was "a little bit better" yesterday but probably will not practice today.
Raymer has been the iron man of the offensive line the past two seasons, starting every game. Fischer, a second-year pro, didn't even get into a game this season. He was on the inactive list for 13 of the 16 regular season games, and for Saturday's playoff opener against Detroit.
The Redskins already will have one newcomer on their offensive line this weekend with Kipp Vickers taking over at left tackle for Andy Heck, who suffered a torn hamstring muscle against the Lions. Vickers has made seven starts in seven NFL seasons, all for the Indianapolis Colts--including one in a playoff game during the 1995 season.
Good health was one of the keys to the success of the Redskins' rebuilt offensive line this season as it yielded only 31 regular season sacks--30 fewer than the club permitted in 1998. Quarterback Brad Johnson was sacked once by the Lions on Saturday. Guard Keith Sims was the only member of the offensive line to miss any starts in the regular season.
"Kipp's a good player," tight end Stephen Alexander said yesterday. "He's physical. It's tough to lose anybody at this point in the year. We were playing well together. We had good continuity. But I think Kipp will play well."
The Redskins and Buccaneers played in the final game of the preseason on Sept. 3 at FedEx Field (then called Redskins Stadium). Tampa Bay rookie quarterback Shaun King, now the starter, was a mop-up performer then. King threw a three-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Darnell McDonald with seven seconds remaining to give the Buccaneers a 16-13 victory. . . .
The Redskins announced yesterday that the team and USAirways are offering a one-day package for Saturday's game, at a cost of $499 per person.
That fee covers travel costs and a ticket to the game. Fans will leave National Airport at approximately 9 a.m. Saturday, will travel to and from the airport in Tampa on buses and are scheduled to return to National around 11:15 p.m. Fans will be given Redskins jerseys to wear to the game, the team said.
Reservations are nonrefundable and can be made by calling 301-276-6050. . . .
Redskins owner Daniel M. Snyder donated 150 tickets for the Detroit game to staff members at Children's Hospital.