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Finally: WP- Skins are concerned about Conway


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By Mark Maske

Washington Post Staff Writer

Wednesday, August 28, 2002; Page D01

For the second time in three years, the Washington Redskins are wondering about the health of kicker Brett Conway's right leg as they prepare for a season. Conway said yesterday he hopes and expects the team will be more patient with him than it was early in the 2000 season, when the Redskins waived Conway and never found a suitable replacement.

Conway said he will test his hip flexor injury during warmups on the field prior to Thursday night's preseason finale against the New England Patriots, and expects to be healed in time to kick in the regular season opener against the Arizona Cardinals on Sept. 8 at FedEx Field. Dean Kleinschmidt, the Redskins' head athletic trainer, said he does not expect Conway to kick in Thursday's game but expects Conway to be ready to open the season.

Still, Redskins officials were sorting through their options in case Conway isn't ready. Coach Steve Spurrier said he is prepared to use James Tuthill, the other kicker on the roster, if Conway remains injured. Club officials have contacted the representative for Jon Hilbert, who kicked for the Dallas Cowboys last season and recently was released by the Chicago Bears, and other kickers will become available as NFL teams trim their rosters for the regular season.

Conway has missed the Redskins' past two exhibition games but did some light kicking Sunday at Redskins Park to begin working his way back.

"I feel good," Conway said yesterday. "I kicked Sunday. We're gradually trying to work back into it. We're going to kick some before the game. I don't think they've made the call whether I'm going to kick in the game or not. Obviously, the goal is still to be ready Day One [of the regular season]. I'll kick some more and do some more Thursday. We still have some time to go. We have a good plan going. I'll be ready. . . . Everybody has been patient with me."

But the Redskins added two kickers, Tuthill and Jamie Rheem, prior to Saturday's exhibition victory at Tampa Bay after releasing Dan Frantz, who had handled the kicking duties in the victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Rheem was released by the Redskins on Sunday after splitting duties with Tuthill on Saturday, when Rheem had an extra-point attempt blocked.

Tuthill made his two extra point kicks and his only field goal attempt in Tampa, a 23-yarder, and has demonstrated a strong leg on kickoffs that Spurrier praised yesterday.

"We've got another guy out here kicking," Spurrier said. "I just got through watching Tuthill. If Conway can't go, we'll go with Tuthill."

The coach indicated he did not intend to keep two kickers on his season-opening roster to give Conway an extra week or two to heal.

"We'll have one that we have confidence in, and then go from there," Spurrier said. "Conway could still be hurt. He's been hurt the last two games. If Brett's hurt, we'll go with Tuthill."

The Redskins claimed Tuthill off waivers from the Houston Texans. He had previous stints with the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers without appearing in a regular season game.

Redskins officials have been in touch with agent Joe Linta regarding Hilbert, according to NFL sources. Hilbert was to clear waivers yesterday and would be a free agent if he was not claimed by another team. Hilbert signed with Dallas in mid-November last year after an injury to Tim Seder and kicked in eight games for the Cowboys, connecting on 11 of 15 field goal attempts and all 12 of his extra point tries.

But club officials said they had no immediate plans to sign Hilbert. The best-case scenario for the Redskins would be for Conway to demonstrate he's healthy. Conway began the 2000 season as the team's kicker, but had been suffering from a quadriceps injury since the preseason. The Redskins waived him after three games. Conway left the club on bitter terms, and the Redskins went through four other kickers unsuccessfully as an NFL-record player payroll of nearly $100 million produced an 8-8 record. Kicking woes were a significant part of that team's downfall.

Conway had brief stays with the Oakland Raiders and New York Jets later that season, then re-signed with the Redskins prior to last season after former coach Marty Schottenheimer took the advice of a team employee and met with Conway. Schottenheimer was rewarded when Conway made 26 of 33 field goal tries and all 22 of his extra-point kicks last season. He made 10 field goals 40 yards or longer, including a 55-yarder.

This is a different set of Redskins coaches from two years ago, but some of the club's front-office decision-makers are the same.

"I hope that they learned their lesson two years ago," Conway said. "Hopefully they wouldn't make the same mistakes. But you never know. There's been talk about it from unreliable sources. I don't know. I hope they don't [release him]. I'm coming off the best year of my career. I think it would be a tremendous mistake if they did. I don't think they will. I think they'll be patient and I'll get healthy and have a good season."

Conway, 27, said this injury is not related to the series of quadriceps injuries that plagued him early in his NFL career, and indicated he was delighted with how he had been kicking the ball in training camp before getting hurt.

"I was kicking great in camp," Conway said. "I could count on one hand in three weeks the number of kicks that I missed with the snapper-holder-kicker. It was five, literally five. I had a really bad day the last day, the day I did this. Other than that, I was kicking really well."

© 2002 The Washington Post Company

Conway to me sounds like an arrogant a$$. Especially this quote:

"I hope that they learned their lesson two years ago," Conway said. "Hopefully they wouldn't make the same mistakes. But you never know.

His kickoffs stink and I'm afraid with as much scoring as we'll be doing, we are going to wear our kicker out with extra points and kickoffs. His kickoffs weren't deep to start with.

ASF not withstanding and his constant praising of the O-Line and Helton, I am nervous about our kicking game. It just isn't normal to have a kicker be injured and sick this much. I hope Conway is right.

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Brett will be fine. Just don't cut him loose again. Like was said before in this thread we won't need a kicker much, besides extra points. BUT........if we do need a game winning kick I'll take Conway over ALOT of other teams kickers!


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Conway is such a wuss.

Your hip flexor hurts? Boo-hoo. You trot on the field a few times per game. You RARELY get touched by anyone. Suck it up, Conway.

I don't think he should be replaced in favor of the Tuthill, though. Who the hell is Tuthill?

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Dude can't help it if he's got a leg injury. I mean the leg *is* pretty important to a kicker, ya know? I think Brett may be a bit arrogant, but I can see where he's coming from. He wants to play for the Skins but he knows that if we cut him he'll get picked up by someone. So he'll have a job either way. The guy is a solid (if not very good) NFL kicker. I hope we don't make the same mistake again either. I've gotten very comfortable with Conway kicking for us. I hope we keep him.

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Smotty...according to the sf chronicle GM Terry Donahue said the team is likely to keep both kickers for the first few weeks of the season. "If we waive one of them, we get nothing for him" Donahue reasoned. "They'd be on somebody else's team playing against us."


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Damn kickers.

I think just before we release one of 'em, we should try them out as a punt returner just so no other team can pick them up.

"Oh, I'm sorry to hear that your pu$$y is inflamed again, Bret. We're releasing you -- but first, go field this punt."

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What bothers me is his penchant for getting hurt and his short kickoffs. We can't keep letting teams start on the 30+ yard line.

And his arrogance certainly isn't deserved. If he was Arrington, then I could see it, but it's not like this guy is Morten Andersen who's been kicking seemingly since they invented the game.

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While Tuthill is impressive on kickoffs, he was a little erratic on his field goals with Houston hence the cut. While a change of scenery can often help a kicker, Conway did make 26 of 33 field goals and all of his extra points last year. That's better that 78% of his FGs. You keep any kicker over 75%.

That said, because Moseley was in place we lost Nick Lowrey. Because Norv was in place we lost Akers. I'd hate to lose a leg like Tuthill's but kicking is a nasty business and if Conway is a little arrogant and was kicking well in camp, all the better I say. Give me a kicker with confidence and a little bit of an attitude. That's a guy I want kicking game-deciding field goals. :thumbsup:

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