Redskins' latest roster gambit eliminates punter and holder

September 01, 1992|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Staff Writer

ASHBURN, Va. -- The Washington Redskins are fortunate they don't have to open the season with their "final" 47-man roster.

Doing their usual roster maneuvering yesterday, the Redskins waived their punter (Kelly Goodburn) and their holder (Jeff Rutledge) while cutting 13 players to reduce their roster to 47 players.

That doesn't mean they're not planning to punt this year. It's just business as usual for the Redskins, who will bring both players back if they clear waivers today.

It was less than a rousing endorsement of Goodburn, who was 24th in the NFL with an average of 39.8 yards last season.

Explaining the gamble, special teams coach Wayne Sevier said: "Everybody's got a punter. We're assuming everybody is happy with their punter."

Not exactly. The San Francisco 49ers cut their punter, Joe Prokop, and are looking for another, although the early indication was that they're not interested in Goodburn.

The Redskins had another punter, Jeff Fite, whom they cut earlier in camp, and he'd be available if the Redskins lose Goodburn.

They have little fear of losing Rutledge, who's technically a quarterback but functions only as the team's holder.

They left him unprotected on Plan B in February, and the Denver Broncos were the only team to show any interest. But the Broncos said yesterday they're no longer interested.

Rutledge was waived so they could protect rookie Chris Hakel, who'll go on the injured reserve list with what the Redskins say is a shoulder injury as part of their quarterback developmental program.

By waiting until today to put Hakel on the IR list, the Redskins will be able to bring him back during the season.

The other candidates for the IR list are defensive lineman Eric Williams, who has a serious knee injury and is out for 10 weeks, offensive lineman Mo Elewonibi, who's going on the IR list for the third straight year, running back John Settle, who was on the IR list last year, and safety Terry Hoage.

Besides Goodburn and Rutledge, the candidates to return are cornerback Johnny Thomas, tight end James Jenkins and linebacker John Brantley.

The Redskins also could bring back long snapper Marc Raab later in the week if tight end John Brandes can't snap because of his knee injury. Offensive lineman Thomas Rayam figures to return to the practice squad.

The Redskins also may look at one of their former players, safety Todd Bowles, who was cut by the 49ers.

The Redskins wound up striking out in Plan B, as they cut defensive end Keith Willis and tight end Gary Wilkins.

They earlier had cut offensive lineman Steve Gabbard and traded defensive lineman George Hinkle to the Minnesota Vikings.

But general manager Charley Casserly said they got a draft choice -- a sixth that could be upgraded to a fifth -- for Hinkle and Joe Johnson and said Willis would have made it if they hadn't been able to draft Shane Collins.

Four draft choices -- Desmond Howard, Collins, Hakel and offensive lineman Matt Elliott -- made the roster, along with free agent Robert Green.

Green, who was spotted by coach Joe Gibbs when he was watching his son play at William & Mary, was downgraded by the pro scouts because of his size (5 feet 8) and lack of speed.

There was speculation the Redskins would waive Green and re-sign him, but he was so impressive in camp they decided they didn't want to risk losing him on waivers.

Don Breaux, the running backs coach, said: "He did it from day one and scrimmage one, from minicamp even. He started [looking good] back then. And Wayne really likes him on special teams, and he has receiving skills as well as obvious ability to make people miss."

Green, who grew up in Washington, said he always believed in himself but finds it hard to believe he'll be on "Monday Night Football" in the opener.

"I'm not scared, but it's going to be weird. Man, I'm on 'Monday Night Football.' I used to beg my parents to stay up to halftime to see the highlights," Green said.

Elliott was honored during Irrelevant Week as the final player selected in the draft during festivities in Newport Beach, Calif. The last final selection to make it was Norman Jefferson of Green Bay in 1987.

Elliott always thought he had a chance even though he was downgraded by the scouts because of his size (265 pounds).

"I thought deep down in my heart I had a good shot. I've never been someone to tell anyone I'm better than anyone else, but I knew I was better than No. 336," Elliott said.

Now he's one of the Redskins' 47.

NOTES: The other players waived were LB Tony Barker, DB Alvin Walton, DB Sidney Johnson and DB David Gulledge. . . . The Redskins will get the next two days off and resume practice Thursday for the Dallas opener.

Redskins roster

OFFENSE (26)

Quarterbacks (3): Mark Rypien, Cary Conklin, Chris Hakel.

Running backs (5): Earnest Byner, Ricky Ervins, Brian Mitchell, Robert Green, John Settle.

Wide receivers (5): Art Monk, Gary Clark, Ricky Sanders, Desmond Howard, Stephen Hobbs.

Tight ends (4): Don Warren, Ron Middleton, Terry Orr, John Brandes.

Offensive linemen (9): Jim Lachey, Raleigh McKenzie, Jeff Bostic, Mark Schlereth, Joe Jacoby, Ed Simmons, Ray Brown, Mo Elewonibi, Matt Elliott.

DEFENSE (20)

Linemen (8): Charles Mann, Fred Stokes, Eric Williams, Tim Johnson, Jumpy Geathers, Bobby Wilson, Jason Buck, Shane Collins.

Linebackers (5): Wilber Marshall, Andre Collins, Kurt Gouveia, Ravin Caldwell, Monte Coleman.

Backs (7): Darrell Green, Martin Mayhew, Danny Copeland, Brad Edwards, Alvoid Mays, A. J. Johnson, Terry Hoage.

SPECIALISTS (1)

Kicker (1): Chip Lohmiller.

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