Redskins' Elewonibi listed as probable despite illness PRO FOOTBALL

September 09, 1993|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Staff Writer

ASHBURN, Va. -- Just when the Washington Redskins solved one problem yesterday, they had to start coping with another.

Several hours after they signed Reggie Roby to a two-year $1,155,000 deal that made him the second highest paid punter in pro football, they had to hospitalize left tackle Moe Elewonibi with a staph infection in his right forearm.

The Redskins still listed Elewonibi as probable for Sunday's game against the Phoenix Cardinals and downplayed the ailment.

They said he had to be hospitalized to get intravenous antibiotics because he's allergic to penicillin, and offensive line coach Jim Hanifan said he expects him to start Sunday although he won't practice this week.

The ailment, though, hits the Redskins at a vulnerable position because Pro Bowler Jim Lachey is already out for the season with a knee injury.

"We're very fragile at that position," coach Richie Petitbon said. "Nothing's happened to change my mind. We'll have to wait and see how he responds."

Hanifan said if Elewonibi can't go, he'll move veteran Joe Jacoby into that position. The other alternative is to switch center Raleigh McKenzie to left tackle and play veteran Jeff Bostic at center.

Meanwhile, the Redskins think that Roby, 32 and in his 11th season, will upgrade their punting game when he takes over for Kelly Goodburn, who was waived Tuesday. Special teams coach Wayne Sevier said Roby will be the team's punter no matter how he kicks Sunday.

Roby said he was happy to leave Miami:

"I didn't like Miami. I liked the Dolphins, but it was just time for me to move on. It's such a relief to be out of Florida. I think Florida in general is just a tourist trap."

After growing up in Iowa, he said he want to live in a place where there's a change of seasons.

"There's heat every day of the year. It's a good change," he said.

Roby's dislike of Florida may have been influenced by personal problems. He was divorced twice and filed for bankruptcy this year with debts in the $500,000 range.

He said he first resisted the idea of filing for bankruptcy and plans to eventually pay off his debts.

"When my advisers first told me about it, I'm like, 'There's no way I can do this.' Pride took over. But the more I thought about it, I swallowed my pride. It was tough this summer. It got to the point I didn't want to leave the house," he said.

He said when he told the Dolphins he was going to file, their relationship soured. He said they feared he was going to try to void his contract with the bankruptcy.

Roby had three years left on a Dolphins contract averaging $459,000. His two-year Redskins deal averages $575,000 at $555,000 this year and $600,000 next year.

Sean Landeta of the New York Giants is the highest-paid punter, averaging $777,000.

The Dolphins decided to keep Dale Hatcher instead of him, but Roby said, "I don't feel they were honest with me. Don't make me look like I can't do it any more."

Roby said he became a Washington fan from watching TV games as a youngster. He always hoped to get a chance to play for them and admitted he rooted against Goodburn when he watched Monday night's game. Goodburn's 25-yard shank on his first punt sealed his fate.

"All my life I never hoped a punter didn't do well," Roby said. "I have to admit Monday night was the first time I was hoping he wouldn't have a good game. I don't think that's mean. It's honest because I really wanted to come here."

NOTES: DL Sterling Palmer had a magnetic resonance imaging exam that revealed he has a sprained knee ligament that will keep him out of Sunday's game. But there was no tear so they hope he won't miss many games. . . . LB Andre Collins (knee) and TE Terry Orr (back) also didn't practice and aren't expected to play. . . . LB Kurt Gouveia (hip) practiced and is expected to play.

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