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Upshaw upbeat at camp


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Upshaw upbeat at camp

He's gleaning knowledge by watching veteran Smith




ASHBURN - When the Washington Redskins talk about Regan Upshaw, the first thing they mention is his "high motor."

They're not talking about his car, and that's a good thing.

Upshaw gives the Redskins every bit of his effort on every play. He also will give you a different idea on why he is on Washington's roster.

From the outside looking in, it appears that Upshaw was signed to replace Bruce Smith in the starting lineup.

"I don't know about replacing him," Upshaw said. "They brought me here to play. They brought Bruce here to play. Bruce is the man. He's one of the best defensive linemen to ever play the game and from what I've seen out here, he still has it.

"There's no bad blood between us. This is what I've always wanted. I've played with some really good players but never with the best at my position. It's like playing with your childhood idol. I'm out here enthralled, amazed at his skills. I always watched him on film, now I get to watch him in person. He already has stressed some little things that have made a difference in the way I'm thinking. Just think, after a whole year of that, I'm going to get a lot better. Maybe I can steal a few of his moves before he disappears on me."

Smith, 40, is beginning his 19th season in the NFL, and is nearing the end of his career. Yesterday, it was reported that Smith said this definitely is his last season. He felt the need to clarify that.

"I believe what I said was, 'More than likely, this is my final season,'" Smith said. "But who knows? I'm looking forward to playing this season, not looking past this season."

One thing does seem certain. The Redskins prefer that Smith assume the role of pass-rush specialist with Upshaw taking the role as starter.

"I'll go out there and work all they want me to," Upshaw said.

Upshaw, 6-4 and 265 pounds, does not mind work, and the Redskins learned quickly how he approaches his job. He gives a full day's effort for his pay, whether he's in a minicamp, training camp or a regular-season game.

"That's always been my M.O.," Upshaw said, a wide smile breaking across his face. "I come with a package of intensity. That's one of my gifts. I come hard all the time. When I'm playing a game against somebody, he better be prepared to go four quarters. He might get me in the first quarter, the second quarter and the third quarter, but I'm still going to be coming in the fourth quarter right to the last play of the game.

"I want to be the best, and if you're going to be the best, you can't take plays off."

Upshaw, who will be 28 on Aug. 12, left the University of California after his junior season. He was a first-round draft pick, 12th overall, of the Tampa Bay Bucs.

He played with the Oakland Raiders in 2002 but missed most of the season after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in a June minicamp. He was expected to miss the entire year but was back on the field in four months.

A wiser course might have been to miss the entire season, but Upshaw doesn't operate that way. He wasn't 100 percent, but he was able to play, so he played. "It was good for my character," he said. "You learn in adversity that there are a lot of things you overcome. The best thing to do is keep a positive mind and continue to work."

Perhaps only Upshaw would find the positives in a severe knee injury.

Upshaw is beginning his eighth NFL season, and the Redskins are his fourth team. His best season was 1997, when he had 7½ sacks. He has 33½ sacks in his career and is not regarded as a pass-rush specialist.

"I'm definitely a pass rusher," Upshaw said. "The last three years, basically, I've had great years. I just haven't had numbers to go with it.

"But I figure it's just a matter of time before the numbers fall my way. I'm young. I'm a player on the verge."

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I have sunday ticket, and I ve seen upshaw play a whole lot. I like him a lot. He is dirty and a qb killer. He once rammed his helmet into ryan leaf then brought up to his chin. Knocking him out of the game and bloodying him. He is ferocious. Another time he pushed steelers punter josh miller on the ground and spit on his face. You don't want to mess with him. A lot of heart and a non stop motor.

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Good friend of mine is a Raider fan, and told me you'll love the way he gets to the QB, you'll hate him for his unnecesary roughness and offsides penalties.

I think offsides can be controlled,,, and you know what?

I never have a problem with uneccesary roughness penalties unless they occur in a crucial part of the game


if it's early, go get that QB. Nail his ass to the floor. Take the 15 yards. don't get tossed out, say you're sorry, but let that QB know you're there, and that you can hurt him.

Remember Dexter Manley was a master at it. Jump early, destoy the Qb, throw up his hands, complain about the flag a bit, scare the piss out of the QB.


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