Wide receivers coach Stan Hixon returned to the Washington Redskins yesterday after missing the past two weeks to be with his son, Drew, who is in a coma after suffering a head injury in a college football game in Florida.
Hixon observed his son, Drew, making progress while in the hospital in Tampa, and had been granted as much time as necessary to stay in Florida by Redskins owner Daniel Snyder.
Coach Joe Gibbs said there is a possibility Drew Hixon could be moved to a trauma center in Virginia next week to keep him close to his family. Drew Hixon was a summer intern for the Redskins in the personnel department and spent every day at the team's training complex. He endeared himself to people throughout the organization.
While in Tampa, Stan Hixon provided Redskins coaches and management with a daily update of his son's condition.
Hixon, who was not available to comment yesterday, dropped by Redskins Park after the Sept. 19 loss to the New York Giants, when he traveled back to Northern Virginia to bring his daughters back home. Gibbs urged him to return to Tampa, where Hixon remained until yesterday and was encouraged by Drew's recent development. It is uncertain at this point if Hixon will be with the team on a permanent basis.
"Hopefully, we'll see a steady progress," Gibbs said. "That's such a tragedy. I told him absolutely he needs to be with Drew as much as he can. [Stan Hixon] came up today and hopefully he can get Drew over here [to Virginia] and he'll keep doing a lot better."
Drew Hixon, 22, a wide receiver for Tennessee Tech, was injured in a helmet-to-helmet collision in a game against South Florida in Tampa on Sept. 11.
Return specialist Chad Morton (concussion and knee strain) and safeties Andre Lott (hamstring) and Matt Bowen (groin pull) missed much of practice yesterday and were listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns.
Gibbs said James Thrash would return punts and Ladell Betts would return kickoffs if Morton cannot play.
Gibbs was particularly worried about the club's depth at safety given the condition of Lott and Bowen, who started the first two games as a tandem. "There's some concern there," Gibbs said of Bowen and Lott.
Linebacker LaVar Arrington (right knee surgery) and defensive end Phillip Daniels (right groin tear) are out for Sunday's game, but both believe there is some chance they could return for the following game. Linebacker Mike Barrow (left knee tendon tear) did not practice yesterday and was listed as questionable. He has yet to play this season and has been listed as questionable each week. Linebacker Antonio Pierce suffered a minor foot injury against the Dallas Cowboys on Monday, Gibbs said, and he and wide receiver Laveranues Coles (dislocated finger) were listed as probable. Coaches said they were confident they would play.
Starting quarterback Mark Brunell practiced and said his left hamstring is still not 100 percent but "it's getting there." He will start Sunday.
Brown 'Definitely a Leader'
Browns quarterback Jeff Garcia played with Redskins offensive lineman Ray Brown in San Francisco and marveled at the 41-year-old's ability to play another season and still be in a starting position. "Ray is awesome," Garcia said. "It's difficult to believe that anyone would be playing in the league at his age, but if there's a guy who could do it, it's Ray, because of the great physical condition he keeps himself in, the great attitude he has and in more ways than one he's definitely a leader for whatever team he is on." . . .
Defensive lineman Kenard Lang has become a major contributor for Cleveland since leaving Washington as an unrestricted free agent in 2002. "I think for whatever reason [the Redskins] tried to get him up to 300 pounds and tried to play him sometimes inside as a defensive tackle maybe in some nickel situations and schemes that just maybe he didn't fit as well," Browns Coach Butch Davis said. "I know he's playing extremely well for us this year . . . and schematically we've put him in a position to make some plays and he's obviously responded." Lang was selected 17th overall by Washington in 1997 and spent five years with the team.