The Washington Redskins yesterday released right tackle Kenyatta Jones, who started three games this season but had been replaced by 41-year-old Ray Brown.
Veteran free agent offensive lineman Vaughn Parker was signed to take Jones's spot on the active roster. The 6-foot-3, 300-pound Parker spent 10 seasons with the San Diego Chargers, playing right and left tackle while starting 107 out of 121 games.
He suffered a season-ending knee injury last year. But as recently as 2001, Parker started all 16 games. Assistant head coach-offense Joe Bugel and linebackers coach Dale Lindsey are familiar with Parker from their time with the Chargers. Bugel was San Diego's offensive line coach from 1998 to 2001; Lindsey was San Diego's defensive coordinator the previous two seasons.
Parker, released by San Diego in the offseason because of salary cap reasons, had been in contact with the Redskins during his rehabilitation. He will be a backup but could become a starter.
"I'm very excited," Parker said after practicing yesterday. "That was a tough rehab, something I definitely wouldn't want to go through again, but I'm pretty healthy right now. I felt great today, so I'm pretty positive that things are going to work out well."
Jones is the second offensive player who began the season as a starter to be released by Washington. The Redskins surprisingly waived tight end Walter Rasby last week, and have replaced him with Robert Royal. According to Bugel, the Redskins didn't want to cut rookie offensive linemen Jim Molinaro or Mark Wilson because the club considers both players to have solid futures in the NFL. And acquiring Parker was too hard to resist.
"It was a matter of one guy becoming available for us," Bugel said. "He was without a doubt the best lineman out there. He had some injuries but he got healthy. . . . He's a super, super smart guy. When somebody like that becomes available you have to consider it."
Jones, a third-year veteran, became Washington's starting right tackle after Jon Jansen suffered an Achilles' tendon injury in the preseason opener to end his season. Jones lost his starting job in Week 2 to Brown. He didn't play in Weeks 2 or 3 but got back in the starting lineup in Week 5 during a 17-10 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, when Brown suffered an injury.
"We felt we had given him every opportunity to be successful," Bugel said. "It was just a matter of making a change. The younger guys will just keep working. God forbid if something happens to Chris Samuels, we'd have to plug him [Parker] in right there.
"You need a guy that's been in the league, who's not going to get nervous in a big football game, that can think on his feet, and Vaughn Parker is that guy."
The Redskins also signed linebacker Brandon Barnes to the practice squad while waiving linebacker Billy Strother.
Kicker John Hall didn't participate in yesterday's practice. He is recovering from a groin injury that forced him to miss Washington's game nine days ago against Chicago. Bubba Tyer, Washington's lead trainer, described Hall's status for Sunday as "up in the air," but added that the team should have an update tomorrow. Ola Kimrin, who kicked two field goals to help the Redskins beat the Bears, 13-10, practiced yesterday. . . .
Cornerback Fred Smoot had improved from two shoulder injuries enough to practice yesterday. Smoot had said before the bye week that he would have his mother apply red clay while visiting her in Jackson, Miss. Yesterday, Tyer joked, "I'm going to go out here and get some Virginia red clay."