Roster shuffle deals 6 back in 'Skins' hand Goodburn among those to rejoin team after cut

September 01, 1993|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Staff Writer

There was no place like home for six Washington Redskins veterans who were free agents for a day.

All six -- center Guy Bingham, defensive linemen Jason Buck and Eric Williams, tight end Terry Orr, cornerback Johnny Thomas and punter Kelly Goodburn -- re-signed with the team at their old salaries yesterday after being released Monday in a roster maneuver.

They were among the more than 100 players around the league && who re-signed with the same teams that released them.

It was all part of the new roster machinations as the teams cut down to 47 players Monday and then added six released players yesterday to get up to their 53-man, regular-season roster.

The veterans were released because they didn't have to clear waivers and be subject to claims by other teams.

They were free to leave, but most veterans aren't eager to depart unless they're offered a big salary increase.

For example, the Dallas Cowboys, who open against the Redskins on Monday night, tried to sign six-year veteran tight end Brent Novoselky of the Minnesota Vikings. He decided he didn't want to leave the Vikings and turned the Cowboys down.

General manager Charley Casserly said that he thought safety Pat Eilers and wide receiver Mark Stock were two young players who would likely have been claimed if they had been exposed to waivers. Players who are claimed must join the teams that claimed them.

"We knew for a fact that some teams were interested in Eilers," Casserly said.

When camp started, both were considered long shots because they had both been cut by other teams in the past.

"If someone had said to us in January or February, what were the chances of Mark Stock and Pat Eilers making the team, we would have said it's a long shot," Casserly said. "But that's why you have training camp. That's why you go out and open jobs up and reward people who play well for you. They played them selves on the team and I think they'll help us."

All 53 players are now on one active roster. There's no difference between the original 47 and the six who were added. Each team will now be able to dress 45 players -- plus a third quarterback -- for each game.

Two injured players, linebacker Andre Collins (knee) and tight end Frank Wycheck (concussion), have already been declared out of the Dallas game. Five other players won't be allowed to dress.

The expanded roster gives teams room to carry injured players because players who are put on the injured reserve list are now lost for the season.

As planned, the Redskins didn't re-sign one veteran -- safety Todd Bowles. They wanted to keep an extra linebacker active because of Collins' injury and will likely bring Bowles back next week.

The Redskins also signed five players to the practice squad. Three were players released Monday -- wide receiver Gregory Clifton, safety Darryl Morrison and tight end Ray Rowe. The fourth was an offensive lineman, Guy Earle, who was cut by the team last week and the fifth, Tico Duckett, was a running back cut by the New York Giants.

The Redskins wanted a running back on their practice squad and Robert Green wasn't eligible because he was on the active roster all last year.

The Redskins didn't add any players from other teams to their 53-man roster. They weren't interested in a backup offensive tackle, but they are so valuable that there weren't any good ones available. They're going to have to hope that Moe Elewonibi can stay healthy and fill in for injured Jim Lachey.

Casserly, noting that most teams used the same roster maneuver employed by the Redskins with veteran players who were returning, said there were only two or three players who were available from each team.

Once they added the players to the practice squad, the Redskins only shipped out three players on the final cut -- Green, linebacker John Brantley and offensive lineman Paul Siever.

Casserly said he was pleased with the final makeup of the Redskins squad.

"We've got a good blend of veterans and rookies. We've got seven draft choices and the five free agents we signed should all contribute," Casserly said.

Casserly also said that he didn't think the roster would have been any different if former coach Joe Gibbs had been doing the cutting instead of first-year Richie Petitbon.

"That's impossible to answer, but I don't think Joe Gibbs would have made any different decisions than were made by Richie Petitbon," he

said.

Although Casserly publicly defended the decision of the coaches to keep Goodburn over rookie Ed Bunn, who was drafted on the third round, Redskins insiders said the scouts didn't feel the coaches gave Bunn enough of a shot.

But Gibbs did the same thing in 1985 when he cut kicker Tony Zendejas for veteran Mark Moseley, whose career ended the next year.

Coaches tend to give veterans the benefit of the doubt.

Now it's up to Goodburn to prove he deserves the job all year. He'll be under the microscope from the first game on.

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