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Jul 30, 2003

FAMILY FIRST FOR BETTS: Running back Ladell Betts was excused from the first day of training camp because of a family matter.

He was here yesterday, but things did not go as well as he would have liked. Betts ran well, at least until he suffered a sprained left elbow. He is not expected to practice today.

Betts is competing with Trung Canidate, Kenny Watson and Chad Morton for playing time.

Backup middle linebacker Kevin Mitchell suffered severe cramping near the end of yesterday morning's workout. He was taken to Loudoun County Hospital, where he received fluids intravenously and muscle relaxers. He sat out the afternoon practice.

Backup offensive guard Tre Johnson also sat out the afternoon session. He was bothered by a sore Achilles' tendon.

BYE, BE BIG DADDY: The release of defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson caught several players by surprise. Most of the Redskins expected a deal to be made. Defensive end Renaldo Wynn was so sure Wilkinson would be back on the field, he referred to him as "Indispensable" after yesterday morning's practice.

Wynn could not help breaking into a rueful grin when he saw a group of reporters waiting to ask him how an indispensable player would be replaced.

"That's the way I felt," Wynn said. "I'm disappointed we didn't get it done."

BOY TO MAN: Fred Smoot on the difference he sees in himself now, in his third season, compared to his rookie year:

"I'm grown man now. I came into the league as child. I had Darrell Green, I had Deion [sanders], and now I have Champ [bailey]. They taught me all they could teach me and then they unleashed me, and now it's time.

"A lot of guys focus on improving things they are already good at. I try to focus on things I'm not good at."

IRONING OUT THE WRINKLES: Coach Steve Spurrier is not seeking perfection from his offense, yet.

"We're making progress and still making mistakes, which we need to do," Spurrier said. "We need to make mistakes and learn from them and try not to make them anymore."

IT'S FUNDAMENTAL: Training camp is not easy for any player, and it's usually toughest on rookies. But rookie wide receiver Taylor Jacobs has found one aspect of professional football a bit easier than college football. The coaches aren't as hard on players, at least during training camp.

"In college, it's their job to teach you how to run, catch and block," Jacobs said. "If you're here, you should already know how to do those things. The coaches have the attitude where they shouldn't have to tell you how to do something. You should be able to go out there and do it." - Paul Woody

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