Redskins obtain Vikings' Gannon Veteran gives team insurance at QB

August 20, 1993|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Staff Writer

CARLISLE, PA — CARLISLE, Pa. -- Quarterbacks Cary Conklin and Chris Hakel couldn't celebrate the closing of the Washington Redskins' training camp yesterday.

Conklin found out he's going to have a veteran looking over his shoulder this year, and Hakel discovered he soon will be looking for a new job.

Those were the ramifications of the Redskins' trade yesterday, when they sent a conditional 1994 fifth-round draft pick to the Minnesota Vikings for veteran quarterback Rich Gannon. If Gannon sees much action, the Vikings will get a fourth-round pick.

As part of the deal, the Redskins also renegotiated Gannon's $1.475 million salary down to the $800,000 range.

The Redskins have been eyeing Gannon since the start of training camp, but the Vikings had insisted on a third-round pick and the Redskins refused to go that high for a backup.

"The price six weeks ago was not the price today," said Redskins general manager Charley Casserly.

The Redskins' first choice in their quest for a veteran was to sign quarterback Phil Simms of the New York Giants as a free agent in March. But Simms re-signed with the Giants before Washington could make a bid.

The addition of Gannon changes the team's quarterback mix. He'll come in as No. 3, but that could change.

Casserly declined to comment on Hakel's future, but coach Richie Petitbon said: "It's obvious."

"Chris is a very fine young prospect, but he hasn't had the snaps in the league," Petitbon added.

Hakel, a fourth-round choice out of William & Mary, tried to be optimistic. "It really doesn't affect my situation," he said. "It's just more competition."

The Redskins plan to keep three quarterbacks, and Hakel, who spent last season on injured reserve and has been disappointing in camp, is the odd man out.

What the trade eventually will mean to Conklin is a bit more uncertain.

Casserly, Petitbon and offensive coordinator Rod Dowhower said Conklin remains the backup to starter Mark Rypien.

"We've got all the confidence in the world in Cary," Casserly said.

4 Petitbon said: "It has nothing to do with Cary."

Dowhower said: "He [Gannon] is insurance in case the first two guys get hurt. That's the only reason for the move."

Although Conklin had a poor game last week, Dowhower said: "He's playing well enough for us."

Conklin said: "It happens. I'm not worried about it. I know I still have the No. 2 job."

But Conklin has thrown only two passes in the NFL and Gannon, 27, in his seventh year, has thrown 1,003, so he has the experience to press Conklin. He started 12 games last year and went 8-4.

Gannon fell out of favor with Vikings offensive coordinator Jack Burns, a former Washington assistant, and Minnesota went with Sean Salisbury against the Redskins in an NFC wild-card playoff game last season. Salisbury was only six of 20 with two interceptions as the Redskins posted a 24-7 victory.

The Vikings brought in injury-prone Jim McMahon to be their starting quarterback, and they decided to keep Salisbury over Gannon as the backup.

A scrambling quarterback, different from the Redskins' usual drop-back passers, Gannon has played well at times, including completing 25 of 32 for 318 yards and four touchdowns against the Cincinnati Bengals last year to earn NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors.

"Let's look at the positives," Casserly said. "He's had success in the league."

Gannon's addition was the only major personnel move the Redskins made during training camp.

Although the team lost offensive tackle Jim Lachey for the season, Petitbon was upbeat about the accomplishments in camp. He says it was better than last year, when the Redskins were weakened by contract holdouts.

"We had a lot of distractions last year," he said. "The London trip didn't help. It was not a smooth operation. It was very tough."

This year, he said, the camp went smoother.

"We've got to really sharpen things up," said Petitbon, "but I think we're in striking distance."

NOTES: DL Jason Buck (ribs) and DB Irv Smith (shoulder) won't play against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. . . . The team returns to Redskin Park today before traveling to Pittsburgh tomorrow.

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.