Orta gets wake-up call, but he must be dreaming Line injuries mean chance for ex-Terp

August 14, 1993|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Staff Writer

MIAMI -- Ralph Orta had a dream Tuesday night that he was playing for the Washington Redskins.

"I woke up to the reality that it wasn't there at the time," said the former University of Maryland defensive tackle who was cut by the Redskins at the end of the first week of camp.

The dream suddenly became reality for Orta yesterday. He was re-signed by the Redskins and will be in uniform tonight when the Redskins play the Miami Dolphins at Joe Robbie Stadium in their second exhibition game.

Hit by a rash of injuries on the defensive line this week, the Redskins decided to bring back Orta.

"They told me I've got to be ready to play," he said. "I'm still shocked that I'll have the opportunity to play in my first NFL game."

The Redskins have only three healthy defensive tackles -- Eric Williams, Bobby Wilson and Tom Fuhler -- because Jason Buck and Tim Johnson have bruised ribs and Jim Wahler just got out of the hospital after a bout with a bacterial infection.

Buck, Johnson and Wahler will be in uniform, but the Redskins hope to keep them out since it's an exhibition game.

That leaves Orta as am emergency fill-in although he looks at this chance as more than that.

"I can't wait to get out there and make something happen. Not too many people get a second chance. Maybe this is a good sign. I've got to take advantage of it," he said.

Orta is still the longest of long shots because he was in camp for only a week, but for the young players who have been in camp the entire time, the injuries mean they'll get more of an opportunity.

"A lot of guys are going to get to play under game conditions," Petitbon said. "That's the best way to look at people, really. We might have some guys make the team in this game."

Only three players -- offensive linemen Jim Lachey (knee), Paul Sevier ( shoulder) and Matt Elliott (knee) -- didn't make the trip.

But the walking wounded include Tim Johnson, Buck, Wahler, Shane Collins ( shoulder), Tom Carter (back), Alvoid Mays (ankle), Johnny Thomas (ankle) and Kurt Gouveia (neck).

Of those players, only Gouveia is likely to see some action, but even if he plays, he'll give way quickly to Rick Hamilton, a third-round draft pick who has impressed the coaches.

"The only way we can evaluate somebody is to surround him with good football players. That makes it a whole different picture. You want to get a look at him with the good guys," Petitbon said of Hamilton.

He'll also continue to look at wide receiver Mark Stock, who's been the surprise of training camp.

Stock is trying not to get too excited. He's been cut by two teams in the past. "I try to keep on an even keel," he said.

With so many players ailing, the Redskins aren't likely to look as good as they did in the 41-12 victory over the Cleveland Browns Monday night.

"This is a tough week," Petitbon said. "It would be a tough week if everybody was healthy. Maybe it's a blessing in disguise because it'll give a lot of guys a chance to play, but it'll be tough on us."

NOTES: Lachey had his knee examined yesterday, but the doctors decided to wait until next week, when the swelling goes down, for a second MRI. . . . . Gouveia, who hasn't served the 100 hours of community service he was ordered to perform as a result of a reckless driving conviction, is offering to help in a community blood drive, according to his lawyer.

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