Redskins sign Cowboys' Washington

March 03, 1995|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Sun Staff Writer

If you can't beat 'em, raid 'em.

That seems to be the philosophy of the Washington Redskins, who have lost their last three games to the Dallas Cowboys by a combined score of 103-17.

A year ago, the Redskins signed the Cowboys' offensive coordinator, Norv Turner, to take over as their head coach and signed one of the Cowboys' free-agent offensive lineman, John Gesek, to be their center.

They signed another Cowboys free agent yesterday, safety James Washington, to a three-year, $4.5 million deal with a $1.5 million signing bonus and brought in Cowboys free-agent tight end Jay Novacek for a visit. They're also after Cowboys wide receiver Alvin Harper.

The Cowboys figured they couldn't afford to keep Washington and Harper under the salary cap, but still hope to get Novacek back.

Novacek, who visited the Philadelphia Eagles on Wednesday, didn't sound happy with the status of negotiations with the Cowboys, though.

"There's an excellent chance I won't be with the Cowboys," Novacek said. "They haven't thrown anything our way that's been very impressive."

The addition of Washington means the Redskins can replace both starting safeties from last year, Darryl Morrison and Martin Bayless. Washington is expected to start at free safety, but could shift to strong safety if the Redskins can sign Stanley Richard of the San Diego Chargers, who will visit today.

Keith Taylor, who's trying to return from a torn Achilles' tendon, will replace Bayless if he recovers and the Redskin don't sign Richard.

Washington, who was runner-up to Emmitt Smith in the Super Bowl MVP voting two years ago when he returned a fumble for a touchdown and intercepted a pass, will give the Redskins a big hitter in the secondary.

"He does like to come up and hit people," Turner said.

Washington, 30, intercepted five passes last year, but is remembered mainly for being fined $10,000 for grabbing a tripod out of a photographer's hand to defend himself during a melee at the end of the first half of the Cowboys' game in Dallas against the New York Giants.

A seven-year veteran, Washington said he didn't mind leaving a team that lost the NFC title game to join a 3-13 team. In 1990 he left the Los Angeles Rams, who had just lost the NFC title game, as a Plan B player to join the 1-15 Cowboys.

"It's easy to go to a winner," Washington said.

The Redskins also plan to bring in Kansas City tight end Derrick Walker today and Pittsburgh tight end Eric Green next week.

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