Former Washington Redskins quarterback Heath Shuler plans to run for Congress in North Carolina.

Shuler, a Democrat, said in a statement yesterday that he has filed papers with the Federal Election Commission that clear the way for him to run next year in the 11th Congressional District for the U.S. House seat held by Republican Charles Taylor.

Shuler didn't name Taylor in a news release that emphasized financial issues.

"Far too many families in western North Carolina are struggling to earn a decent living, educate their children, and pay for health care," Shuler said. "Congress is spending too much time playing partisan politics, instead of working to find solutions to the real problems facing our families."

Shuler was traveling on business yesterday and was unavailable to comment, campaign spokesman Randy Flack said.

Shuler played football at Swain County High School, where he ranked among North Carolina's all-time passing leaders and led his team to three straight state championships. At Tennessee, he was runner-up for the Heisman Trophy.

Drafted in the first round by the Redskins in 1994, Shuler's pro career never took off. In four-plus seasons with the Redskins and New Orleans Saints, Shuler started just 22 games, throwing for 15 touchdowns and 33 interceptions.

Since retiring from football, Shuler and his brother, Benjie, have run Heath Shuler Real Estate.

-- From News Services