The Washington Redskins placed safety Sam Shade on the injured reserve list yesterday, ending his season because of a herniated disk in his neck that is threatening to bring his eight-year NFL career to a close.
"I think probably after the season he's going to decide if he's going to continue playing football," Redskins Coach Steve Spurrier said. "It's an injury that I think they're going to reevaluate later on."
Shade was on the inactive list for the Redskins' loss Sunday after reinjuring his neck the previous week during a defeat at Jacksonville. Shade said that he originally injured a disk in his neck last season but played with it and was told by doctors last offseason that he did not need surgery. But an MRI exam last week showed a problem with a different disk, Shade said.
Shade, 29, had played mostly on special teams in recent weeks after losing his starting job at strong safety to Ifeanyi Ohalete. Rookie safety Andre Lott got some playing time as a reserve against the Giants. Shade was in jeopardy of being released by the Redskins after the season even before getting hurt. He had hoped to continue his NFL career elsewhere before suffering the injury, but has said that he and his doctors will proceed cautiously. He has spent four seasons with the Redskins after four seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Redskins also waived defensive end Otis Leverette yesterday, filling two vacant roster spots by promoting defensive back Ricot Joseph and defensive lineman Bernard Jackson from the practice squad.
The Redskins will decide later this week whether Bryan Barker will be able to punt Sunday against the St. Louis Rams, special teams coach Mike Stock said yesterday. Barker sprained his left ankle Sunday making a tackle against the Giants.
Barker's job already was tenuous because of his disappointing play this season, and he continued to struggle at Giants Stadium by averaging 38.3 yards per punt. Stock said the Redskins might move back the day when they work on punting in practice this week -- to Thursday -- to give Barker another day to heal before evaluating him.
"His punting is not as good as you'd like [but] most of that will depend on how his ankle is," said Stock, who indicated he was uncertain when Barker got hurt whether the punter would be able to return to the game. Place kicker James Tuthill would have taken over the punting duties, Stock said.
Asked about the condition of his ankle, Barker said: "I don't know. I'll have a better idea [today] or Wednesday."
The Redskins brought in five punters, including veteran Lee Johnson, for workouts last week at Redskins Park, but stuck with Barker at least temporarily. Johnson, 40, spent 11 seasons with the Bengals and was with the Minnesota Vikings last season. The Redskins also auditioned Casey Roussel, Dirk Johnson, John Baker and Craig Jarrett.
Veteran tight end Walter Rasby could miss Sunday's game because of an abdominal strain. . . . Wide receiver Willie Jackson had five catches at Giants Stadium in his third game with the team, and Spurrier said that Jackson likely will be the club's number three wideout this week behind starters Rod Gardner and Derrius Thompson. . . .
Dickinson College confirmed with an announcement recently what Spurrier said a few weeks ago -- that the Redskins will not return to the Carlisle, Pa., school next summer for training camp. Spurrier said the club intends to hold its camp at Redskins Park. . . . Dickinson President William Durden said in a written statement: "Although we enjoyed having the team on campus, there were difficulties dealing with the management which were not resolved.'' . . .
Spurrier said he did his best to deliver an upbeat message to his team yesterday. "We just talked about keeping on keeping on for 16 games," Spurrier said. "You're going to win some, you're going to lose some. We've lost more than we thought we were going to, but it's already happened. We can't get them back. So we move on to the next game. We try to be prepared the best we can every week. We have a new week coming. You can only be in the dumps for so long. When they come in Wednesday [for practice], I expect our guys to get ready for St. Louis and be ready to go."