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Trying to become noticed: A longshot to make Redskins' roster, 'camp player' hopes to

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Trying to become noticed: A longshot to make Redskins' roster, 'camp player' hopes to stand out


By Warner Hessler

Daily Press

Published August 6, 2003

ASHBURN -- Every now and then, observers at Redskin Park see No. 19 split two safeties and catch a touchdown pass, cut in front of a cornerback for a short gain along the sidelines or slant over the middle and leap between two defenders for a tough catch in traffic.

What No. 19 does, and has been doing with increasing frequency, is what coaches call "flashing," standing out in an otherwise nameless and faceless crowd of fringe players trying to make an NFL roster.

No. 19 is Scott Cloman, a 27-year old, 6-foot-3, 214-pound receiver from Southern University. But in every way, he's a "camp player," just another unknown among a group of 90 candidates for 53 regular season roster slots.

NFL training camps are full of players like Cloman, guys who are good enough to be invited to camp and good enough to make some plays, but not good enough to hang around once the final rosters are drawn. Their only chance is to flash in practice and, more important, flash whenever they get a chance to play in preseason games. Their first chance is Saturday night in the preseason opener at Carolina.

"There is no margin for error from a guy like me," Cloman said. "Everybody in this game is not the same. I wasn't fortunate enough to be a high draft pick, and I didn't get big money to come here. When the ball comes my way, I have to make a play anytime I can."

Cloman began camp as a long shot to make the roster at a position where the Redskins are loaded with high draft picks, big money free agents and fringe veterans. But after nine days of flashing for the coaches, Cloman has at least gained their attention and joined the crowd competing for the final two roster spots at receiver.

The Redskins will likely keep six receivers and, barring injury, four are locks. Laveranues Coles and Rod Gardner will start, and Taylor Jacobs and Cliff Russell will be the primary backups.

Holdover Darnerian McCants, who had 21 receptions last year, and free agent Patrick Johnson, who has 67 catches in five seasons, are considered front-runners for the other two spots, but they are not practicing any better than Cloman and fellow free agent hopefuls Patrick Wood**** and Richmond Flowers.

"I feel like I'm as good as anybody out there," Cloman said, "but the first thing I have to do is separate myself from the pack. I've got to keep making plays. I've got to be consistent."

If nothing else, Cloman has been consistent in his attempt to make a living playing pro football.

In 2000, he played arena league football that winter and was cut by the Kansas City Chiefs that summer. He caught 21 passes with Orlando of the XFL in 2001, played in NFL Europe in 2002, and then spent seven weeks on San Francisco's practice squad before being released.

He stayed in shape during the offseason and is back again, showing why he was good enough to be invited to camp but still trying to prove he belongs.

"I'm not ready to give up yet," he said, "and I haven't gotten discouraged yet. I still love playing football. The day I stop loving it is the day I will stop playing it, but that hasn't happened yet. I still wake up every morning with a good attitude."

Over the next three weeks and first two preseason games, receivers coach Steve Spurrier Jr. will be in charge of determining whether Cloman is good enough to play in the NFL as a receiver. If he does show he is good enough, then he joins another pool of similar players from other positions whose fates are in the hands of special teams coach Mark Stock.

Once the coaches determine their top 42 or 43 position players, the final nine or 10 slots will go to those Stock wants to keep for his coverage and return teams.

"When it comes time to decide who gets cut and who stays, Stock will have a lot to say about who stays," Spurrier Jr. said. "When you get down to your fifth and sixth receivers, the candidates have got to be good special teams players."

"I've played special teams everywhere I've been," Cloman said. "I know that's what it may come down to, but I have the size and speed to do well at it."

If he does, this could be Cloman's best chance to make an active roster since he turned pro in 2000.

"Scott isn't better than our top three or four receivers," Spurrier Jr. said, "but he is big, strong, fast and has worked to give himself an opportunity to make it. Now, for him, that opportunity starts on game day."

Warner Hessler can be reached at 247-4648 or by e-mail at whessler@dailypress.com

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The only problem with this guy is that he's 27. If he were 21, we could just send him to Europe for a few years, let him develop then bring him in to play later down the road. But at 27, by the time we get him back and ready to play he would be pushing 30.

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I saw this guy at camp and couldn't believe how cut his arms were.....like Westbrook.....kid has some guns.....which could help him make plays on special teams....wood**** is hurt so doubt he makes it.....and flowers.....kids got the heart of Balboa but don't think he could really help us on special teams tackling as much as Cloman cause he is so small....

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Throughout the whole camp I was telling all around me to watch out for this guy. He looked great on every play. We have enough WR already but maybe he can stick around on the PS, because I would take him as a replacement for any of our other wr that got hurt or etc etc.

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He should run around the practice field in his jock.

That'll get him noticed.

Unfortunately for him, our WR is jammed, and looks pretty much set.

Maybe he makes the practice squad?

Who does look like our practice squad players are so far?

Him, McCullough, Hamdan, and...?


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