CARLISLE, Pa. -- Dave Szott did not need to be convinced by Washington Redskins coach Marty Schottenheimer to come out of semiretirement to shore up the team's fragile situation at left guard.
Szott, 33, an 11-year veteran who signed late Sunday for the veteran's minimum of $477,000, thought the arm injury that forced him to miss all but one game with the Kansas City Chiefs last season cost him the proper ending to a pretty good career and was hoping for a chance to keep playing.
That's why when Schottenheimer called last week to inquire about his interest, Szott, a seventh-round pick out of Penn State in 1990 who played for Schottenheimer for the first eight years of his career, was more than receptive.
"It [the injury] makes you appreciate things," said Szott, who was coaching a high school team in Morristown, N.J., when Schottenheimer called. "I still wanted to play and it changes your perspective on how much of a privilege it truly is to play.
"A lot of guys take it for granted, and I had always worked hard and prepared, but maybe I took it for granted. You think every year you're going to be out here. And then 11 years go by and you're looking at No. 12 and maybe you're not playing. I'm going to savor every minute that I have and prepare as hard as I can."
While Szott, a 1997 All-Pro selection, was certain that he wanted to continue to play, selling his wife, Andrea, on another season was a different matter.
Their eldest son, Shane, 6, has cerebral palsy and requires special schooling. The 6-foot-4, 289-pound Szott nearly didn't play in the 2000 season as he and his wife searched in vain in the Kansas City area for the schooling Shane needed.
"It's not easy. You go through the whole range of emotions, the `Why me?' " said Szott, who started in 135 of the 142 games he played with the Chiefs. "Then you realize it's `Why him?' and you start to feel sorry for him that he's not going to experience the things that my other guy [younger son, Joshua, 3] will.
"But it's a part of life unfortunately, and it's opened my eyes to an entire sector of life that I wasn't familiar with, people in wheelchairs and people with disabilities."
Szott's injury made the question moot for last year, and the family was able to move back East, and get Shane into a school.
But the desire to play was still there for Szott, so when Schottenheimer expressed interest, Szott had to talk his wife into letting him play.
"It was on my mind every day," he said of coming back. "She knew what I wanted, but I was not going to sacrifice the needs of my family for what I wanted. If I had to put it to rest, I had to put it to rest. Some decisions that you make in life are easier than others. This wasn't an easy one, but she finally said, if you want to do it, go ahead."
NOTES: The Redskins' quarterback situation remained in flux, as Sage Rosenfels, Todd Husak and Tony Banks each took turns delivering incompletions and interceptions during yesterday's drills. Incumbent starter Jeff George, who has been nursing tendinitis in his throwing shoulder, took tentative steps toward returning. George said he hopes to take some snaps today with the offensive unit, most likely in a seven-on-seven drill. George, who has not thrown since the first week of camp, said he plans to play in Friday's preseason game against Cleveland. ... Offensive tackle Chris Samuels and running back Stephen Davis were held out of practice yesterday.