As Washington Redskins officials began making their plans for next season yesterday, sources close to the situation said those plans do not include Dan Turk, whose botched snap prevented a potential game-winning field goal attempt in Saturday's NFC semifinal loss at Tampa Bay, or his brother, Matt Turk, a former Pro Bowl punter.
According to sources, team officials have decided to release Matt Turk this offseason and not to re-sign Dan Turk, who is eligible for unrestricted free agency. The Redskins also want to acquire a new starting left tackle to replace veteran Andy Heck, sources said.
The status of several of Coach Norv Turner's assistants, including defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and special teams coach LeCharls McDaniel, remained uncertain. Turner said he plans to meet with each member of his staff this week, and sources indicated that while no decisions have been made, Nolan, McDaniel and other assistant coaches might not return next season.
The Redskins remain intent on re-signing tailback Stephen Davis, who is eligible for unrestricted free agency, or making him the team's franchise player before the NFL's free agent signing period begins next month, sources said. The Redskins, according to sources, also want to re-sign fullback Larry Centers, defensive end Marco Coleman and most of their other free agents-to-be.
Turner said there is "no question" that cornerback Darrell Green will return for an 18th Redskins season at age 40.
"Those are things we'll talk about in the next couple weeks," Turner said. "It's important to get it done, and it's important to let our guys know that's what we want to get done. Guys who stepped up and played like they did, you'd like to continue to have them on your football team."
Turner, owner Daniel M. Snyder and director of player personnel Vinny Cerrato met yesterday to begin offseason planning. That offseason began sooner than the Redskins had hoped, since they had a 13-point lead in the third quarter Saturday before losing to the Buccaneers, 14-13.
Still, the Redskins can savor a season in which they won the NFC East title, beat the Detroit Lions in a first-round playoff game and came close to reaching the NFC championship game. Now they begin an offseason in which they have three first-round draft choices.
Snyder gave an upbeat message when he addressed the team in the locker room Saturday night, and those at Redskin Park yesterday were optimistic about the franchise's direction.
"I hope we can keep the team intact and keep everybody here," tight end Stephen Alexander said. "I don't see any reason why we wouldn't keep everybody intact and make another run at it next year."
Turner said: "It starts, with any team in this league, with the quarterback position. We certainly have an outstanding quarterback. After that, we have enough talented players to continue to get better. We have a lot of real good young players on this team."
The Redskins apparently already have decided that next season's team won't include Dan or Matt Turk, however. Club officials said that Dan Turk did not accompany the team on its flight to Dulles Airport Saturday night after his low snap prevented place kicker Brett Conway from attempting a 52-yard field goal with 1 minute 17 seconds remaining. Redskins officials said they did not tell Turk he couldn't ride with the team.
Matt Turk's string of three straight Pro Bowl seasons ended this season. He angered several team officials who suspected he suffered or worsened a finger injury in October while playing recreational basketball. He denied that, saying he got hurt before or during the Redskins' game at Arizona on Oct. 17. His contract runs through the 2001 season, but sources said that club officials already have resolved to release him once they find a new punter.
Nolan and McDaniel were under heavy scrutiny all season. The Redskins' defense finished the regular season ranked 30th in the NFL, but played better in the second half of the season and during two playoff games. If Nolan is not retained, the Redskins' list of candidates to replace him probably would include two recently fired head coaches, Pete Carroll and Ray Rhodes.
When asked about his assistant coaches during a news conference yesterday at Redskin Park, Turner said: "I'm going to visit with each of them this week and do some evaluations, see where they are. We'll look at that as the week goes on."
Heck played well for much of the season but missed Saturday's game because of a torn hamstring muscle, and the Redskins believe they can upgrade at left tackle, sources said. The club likely will re-sign its other two starting offensive linemen who are eligible for unrestricted free agency: left guard Keith Sims and center Cory Raymer.
Green and other veterans, such as wide receiver Irving Fryar and kick returner-running back Brian Mitchell, appear to be in the team's plans for next season. Snyder has invited Fryar to return. Mitchell has said he would renegotiate his contract if needed in order to come back, and Turner said yesterday of Green: "There's no question that Darrell will be back. That's without sitting down and talking to him [but] we've had general discussions."
The Redskins also have discussed trading the 12th and 24th selections in April's college draft to the San Francisco 49ers for the third pick, which would give them the second and third choices and probably would enable them to take two Penn State players, linebacker LaVar Arrington and defensive end Courtney Brown.