The Washington Redskins yesterday signed 41-year-old offensive lineman Ray Brown, who played for the club from 1989 to 1995 and appeared to have ended his long NFL career after playing with the Detroit Lions last season.
The 19th-year veteran -- he missed two seasons with an elbow injury -- is expected to add leadership as much as depth to a line that has been hit hard with the loss of Jon Jansen. The right tackle underwent successful surgery yesterday in Charlotte to repair a ruptured left Achilles' tendon suffered during Monday's 20-17 victory over the Denver Broncos in the preseason opener. Jansen will be in a cast for six weeks, followed by rehabilitation at Redskins Park.
After leaving the Redskins, Brown joined the San Francisco 49ers, where he played from 1996 to 2001 before joining Detroit for the last two seasons. After not participating in an NFL practice for almost a year, Brown -- who will turn 42 on Dec. 12 -- worked out for Washington yesterday morning, then signed a one-year contract for the league minimum.
"Ray played for us all the way back when I was here," Coach Joe Gibbs said. "We just think he's the right kind of guy."
Brown said after practice: "It feels good, I must admit. As hot as it is, I might be second-guessing that, but other than that I'm fine. I did as much as I could [working out] away from any type of training camp or any type of team. But I have some work to do."
What does he feel he has to offer at his age?
"Obviously when you become an 18-year guy, a 19-year guy, it's [mostly] leadership, it's mentorship. But they're not cutting anybody any slack. You have to work. I know that. We're going to be in pads; we're going to be banging. And I just have to be ready for it, make sure my body holds up for 16 ballgames."
Rookie offensive lineman Jim Molinaro was carted off the field during practice because of a heat-related illness. Cornerback Shawn Springs missed practice because of tendinitis in his quadriceps, but said he expects to return soon.
In some good news on the injury front, nose tackle Brandon Noble practiced for the first time since breaking his hand last week. Defensive end Phillip Daniels, who missed Monday's game with an abdominal strain, has returned to practice. . . .
Safety Sean Taylor, who intercepted two passes Monday, had another strong practice, but he still hasn't been placed on the first team. "He makes a lot of good plays," Gibbs said.