Safety-minded Redskins searching

May 05, 1994|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Sun Staff Writer

The Washington Redskins, attempting to find a new strong safety now that Danny Copeland has retired, will bring in Jarvis Williams of the Miami Dolphins and Keith Taylor of the New Orleans Saints for visits today.

"We're going to make a lot of phone calls and talk to a lot of people," said general manager Charley Casserly, who said he's also talking to Greg Jackson of the New York Giants.

Casserly also made a $410,000, one-year offer to defensive lineman Brent Williams of the New England Patriots. Williams was at Redskin Park yesterday and apparently was ready to sign, but suddenly changed his mind. He flew to Seattle, where he is expected to take a similar offer from the Seahawks. Casserly said the Redskins no longer will pursue Williams.

Casserly added that defensive lineman Richard Dent of the Chicago Bears was in Washington yesterday on personal business, but didn't visit Redskin Park.

Casserly declined to invite him because Dent has yet to give the Redskins a specific salary request. It's speculated that he wants more than $2 million. If true, the Redskins can't afford him under the salary cap. In Chicago, he rejected a $2.3 million offer and is no longer in the Bears' plans. Dent was in Philadelphia earlier this week where Eagles officials were described as shocked by his demands.

In another negotiating matter, Casserly said he is talking to the agents for running backs Brian Mitchell and Earnest Byner, but can afford to sign only one of them.

Meanwhile, former Redskins quarterback Mark Rypien is close to signing with the Cleveland Browns, pending salary-cap adjustments.

The Redskins have an extra $950,000 to work with now that Copeland has retired.

Among his reasons for retiring, Copeland said yesterday, were concerns about injuries. He's still bothered by a hip injury and has suffered three serious neck injuries.

After the last neck injury, he said he couldn't hold his young daughter in church longer than 10 minutes without feeling pain in his neck, back and leg.

"The pains of the game outweighed the passion [for playing] the game," he said.

But, he already misses the game: "It's tough. It's a serious emotional strain," he said. "Don't get me wrong, I'm not jumping off any bridges, but it's going to take some time [to adjust to not playing]."

Copeland's plans are indefinite, but he says he is interested in working with youth in his hometown of Thomasville, Ga.

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