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Brunell named starter

Veteran says decision is a relief; Ramsey offers him support



Mark Brunell arrived in Washington with a big name and a big contract. Now, he has one more thing: the job as the starting quarterback for the Redskins when the regular season begins.

Redskins coach Joe Gibbs conducted a monthlong quarterback competition between Brunell and Patrick Ramsey, Washington's starter most of last season.

Yesterday, Gibbs announced that Brunell had won the competition.

"There wasn't any one thing that decided it," Gibbs said.

Brunell also will start Friday's preseason game against Atlanta. Gibbs said it was important to name a starter now.

"We need to spend more time with the quarterbacks and receivers on their timing, which we haven't been able to get," Gibbs said.

Neither Brunell nor Ramsey has had a sterling preseason. Brunell has completed 22 of 40 passes (55 percent) for 244 yards. Ramsey has completed just 15 of 37 passes (40.5 percent) for 196 yards. Both threw one interception.

"This is a relief," Brunell said. "It's nice to be at this point with one preseason game left. I hope this is something we can launch into the regular season."

Brunell, who will be 34 on Sept. 17, is entering his 12th NFL season. He spent the previous nine years in Jacksonville. He led the Jaguars to two AFC championship games. For his career, he has thrown for 25,793 yards and 144 touchdowns with 86 interceptions and completed 60.3 percent of his passes.

Ramsey, 25, started 11 games before a foot injury shut down his season last year.

Gibbs wanted a veteran at quarterback and was a prime mover in the acquisition of Brunell. The Redskins gave Jacksonville a third-round draft choice for Brunell, then gave the left-handed quarterback a seven-year contract worth $43 million, including an $8.6 million signing bonus.

"Obviously, I'm disappointed," Ramsey said. "I think there are things I could have done better. Mark played well, and I fully support him. I hope he plays well and never gets hurt.

"This [not starting] would be a bigger adjustment had I been in this offense for a couple of years. At this point, I can still learn and watch."

In his two NFL seasons, Ramsey passed for 3,705 yards and 23 touchdowns with 17 interceptions. He has a completion rate of 52.5 percent.

"I think the world of Patrick," Gibbs said. "I told him that I doubt he would be here if I didn't think he could play. I thought Patrick played extremely well [in 2003]. He's tough and smart. I look forward to working with him, but at this point, Mark should start for us."

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