Redskins put foot down on Ramsey

QB's season ends on IR with operation looming

Pro Football

December 09, 2003|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

ASHBURN, Va. - Rather than risk further injury to their franchise quarterback, the Washington Redskins assigned Patrick Ramsey to the injured reserve list yesterday, effectively ending his second year in the NFL.

With the Redskins (5-8) all but eliminated from the playoff race with three games left in the regular season, team officials agreed that Ramsey should undergo surgery on his injured right foot now and start the healing process as quickly as possible.

"We've been hesitating the last two or three weeks," said coach Steve Spurrier, who said an operation could be performed as soon as this week. "The doctors just felt like, `Hey, we've got to eventually do it. It's not going to get any better.' ... These games are important now, but maybe not quite as important if you were in the hunt for the playoffs. So we felt like we need to get him well."

The move means that Tim Hasselbeck, who is 1-1 as a starter the past two weeks, will be the starter when the Dallas Cowboys (8-5) visit FedEx Field on Sunday at 4:15 p.m.

Rookie Gibran Hamdan will back up Hasselbeck. Spurrier said the team may sign a third quarterback.

Ramsey went 4-7 as a starter this season, completing 179 of 337 passes for 2,166 yards. He threw 14 touchdowns and was intercepted nine times.

But Ramsey aggravated a bone bruise and fracture in his right foot during Washington's 20-17 loss to the Carolina Panthers on Nov. 16. He started the team's next game against the Miami Dolphins, but was knocked out with a minor concussion and has not played since.

Ramsey had been determined to return to the field to gain more experience, but he was re-injured on Wednesday when his foot slipped on a dirt patch.

"I understood [missing the rest of the season] might be a reality when I slipped last week ... just because in a game-time situation, more than that is going to happen," said Ramsey, who left Redskins Park with a protective boot on his foot. "And if I can't continue to practice after that, obviously it would be tough to continue to play."

Ramsey, who has been told that he won't be able to run for 10 weeks after the operation, said he grew more comfortable in his second year as an NFL quarterback but wasn't entirely satisfied.

"I'll never be pleased," he said. "I feel like I improved, but I think I can improve even more."

In six weeks in Washington, Hasselbeck has played well in a Fun 'N' Gun system that has been modified to rely on the run and quick timing patterns.

But Spurrier said there's little chance that Hasselbeck will vault past Ramsey as the team's No. 1 quarterback.

"We feel like now we've got two players that are very, very capable of leading our team," Spurrier said. "But Patrick, he's our quarterback, and we want him to get that foot well, and when he comes back, he will in all likelihood be our starter."

Trung Canidate and Ladell Betts may not play against the Cowboys Sunday, further depleting a thin running back corps.

Both injuries occurred during Sunday's 20-7 win over the New York Giants. Canidate sprained his left foot, and Betts aggravated a fractured left forearm.

Both are expected to miss a significant portion of practice this week.

Besides using Chad Morton and Rock Cartwright, Spurrier said the team might turn to second-year pro John Simon, who has 11 carries on his NFL resume.

Next for Redskins

Matchup: Dallas Cowboys (8-5) vs. Washington Redskins (5-8)

Site: FedEx Field, Landover

When: Sunday, 4:15 p.m.

TV/Radio: Chs. 45, 5/WNAV (1430 AM), WJFK (106.7 FM)

Line: Even

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