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http://www.canada.com/montreal/sports/story.asp?id=4DF10455-92EC-42C2-BCBE-8EFCAC5886A6

Ex-Al Wood**** has high hopes with 'Skins

HERB ZURKOWSKY

The Gazette

Sunday, July 27, 2003

It's in the distance, but Pat Wood**** can't help feeling he can at least see the finish line in his quest for NFL employment.

The former Alouettes receiver reports to the Washington Redskins' training camp today and will be on the field tomorrow for the first day of workouts. He advanced further than did Adriano Belli with the Cleveland Browns and Keith Stokes with the Miami Dolphins. Both have long since returned to Montreal.

"I feel really good about my chances, but you never know," Wood**** said yesterday, while travelling by car to the team's camp site. "Given my success at mini-camp, I'm in as good a spot as I can be. I hope to continue playing at that level and let the chips fall where they may."

Wood**** hopes to be on the Redskins' 55-man roster when the regular season begins Sept. 4. If not, claiming one of five practice-roster positions would be the next-best alternative. He's one of about a dozen wide-receivers hoping to land, he thinks, six or perhaps seven openings. Wood****'s quest began in late March, when he attended mini- camp and four weeks of coaching sessions.

Washington, 7-9 last season, is seeking more speed at receiver. The 5-foot-10, 175-pounder certainly provides that along with good catching ability.

"I think I did well (at mini- camp) and the coaches told me I did well. I hope that means something," Wood**** said. "I'm just trying to make the team. I have no misconception of starting."

Should Wood**** crack the roster, he'll earn $225,000 U.S., the NFL minimum. If not, he must return to Montreal and fulfill the option year of his contract. He said returning to the CFL wouldn't pose any problem.

"In the worst-case scenario, I'm back in Montreal and trying for another Grey Cup ring," said Wood****, who caught 35 passes for 838 yards and scored five touchdowns in 13 games. He was named an East Division all-star.

He believes he's better prepared for NFL life this time. Wood**** dressed for four exhibition games in 2001 with the New York Giants. He was released two weeks into the season.

"I have such a high level of confidence after the season and success of last year," he said.

Notes - Als slotback Thyron Anderson, who scored a 62-yard touchdown against Winnipeg, will miss Tuesday's return match with turf toe. He'll be replaced by Chris Coleman. ... Receiver Dave Stala probably will replace Sylvain Girard, who has an elbow injury. ... SB Jeremaine Copeland didn't practise yesterday because of a hamstring injury, but said he'll face the Blue Bombers.

© Copyright 2003 Montreal Gazette

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