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Smoot has 'gut feeling' he might not be back


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ASHBURN, Va. (AP) -- Fred Smoot's ``gut feeling'' no longer has him optimistic about returning to the Washington Redskins next year.

``I want to be here bad,'' Smoot said Thursday. ``It's not about me wanting to be here. It's about them wanting me to be here.''

Smoot's contract expires at the end of the season. He recently had expressed optimism that he would stay with the Redskins, with ongoing negotiations resulting in a new deal possibly before the final game this weekend.


Asked Thursday if he was still optimistic, Smoot said, ``I can't say that I am.''

``Just say a gut feeling,'' he added.

Coach Joe Gibbs said he wants Smoot to return, despite the impasse in talks.

``We're going to make every effort we can to sign him,'' Gibbs said. ``We got going hard on it in the middle of the year, and it kind of reached a point there where it was a stalemate, but we're going to do everything we can to try and sign him.''

Smoot could become the second high-profile cornerback to leave the Redskins in as many seasons. Perennial Pro Bowler Champ Bailey was traded to Denver in March after failed and often contentious contract negotiations.

Smoot and Bailey remain close friends and talk frequently. Smoot said Bailey has been giving him advice on how to handle contract negotiations and how to play the free agent market if no deal is reached.

``It's never the player,'' Smoot said. ``It's all about the front office -- and do they want me here. Champ helped me a lot to get through this year, the mental part of it.''

If Smoot doesn't return, his last game with the Redskins was Sunday's 14-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in which he bruised a kidney. He said he won't play Sunday in the season finale against Minnesota.

Entering the season, there were questions as to how Smoot would play without Bailey, who could shut down half of the field. Smoot has answered the critics, with he and fellow cornerback Shawn Springs helping anchor a defense ranked second in the league. Smoot has three interceptions, has forced two fumbles and was selected as a second alternate to the Pro Bowl.

Smoot is in the final days of a modest four-year, $2.6 million contract he signed as a second-round draft pick from Mississippi State in 2001. His agent, James Cook, did not return a call seeking comment.

Smoot is also the team's most vocal presence in the locker room. His remarks Thursday came as he was receiving the team's B.J. Blanchard Good Guy Award for his cooperation and candor with the media, through times both good and bad.

``That's something Deion (Sanders) told me: Don't only talk to them when the sun's shining,'' Smoot said. ``When the sun ain't on you, they can bury you, too, so you've got to be on an even keel. That's what I try to do.''<

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I hope he comes back. He is one of my favorite players and, he did one hell of a job this year. He is a crucial part of our secondary. But, if he is becoming anything like Chump, he will want way to much $$$ to be satisfied. He cant let the fact of being a good corner get into his head. If he demands the amount of $$4 Chump did then we have to let him go!

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i'm not that sure Smoot is going to get that big of a payday...i mean i love him to death and he plays his heart out, but he still isn't considered one of the top five CBs league wide.. As bad as Woodson and bailey played this year, they are still rated higher than him. i don't agree, but that is what they say

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crap, this is really a sad article to read. None of us here want to lose Smoot, and with him leaving, we have a huge whole on our defense. We do need DE, but due to our secondary and blitzing, our d-line has held solid. If Smoot leaves though, talk about a whole, we'd have to draft a CB in the first round, or FA, and hope to fill the whole well.

I hope they can work this out, it seems like Pierce is the talk of re-signing now.

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the only way Smoot doesn't come back is if he and his agents price themselves out of the Skins range. Overrated or not, Smoot is not Champ Bailey and didn't have Champ's resume and reputation around the league. Champ never missed a down and made the Pro Bowl almost every year as well as being regarded as one of the top, if not the top cover CB in the NFL (whether it's true or not is debatable). Smoot has none of that on his resume and that should be the bottom line. No way should he get anything close to what Bailey was offered by the Skins or got from the Broncos. I love Smooty and think he's one of the core Redskins, but let's be honest, he's not worth top tier corner money. A deal comparable to Springs' would be fine.

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Thats the problem with our organization.

We pay big bucks to guys OUTSIDE the team, that do things for OTHER teams, but we can't pay one of our own?

We gave Mark Brunell $40 Million or whatever because he played well for JACKSONVILLE.

We gave Clinton Portis $50 Million because he played well for DENVER.

Look at when we raided the Jets. We paid those guys big bucks because they played well for the JETS, NOT because they played well for US.

It's time we start rewarding OUR guys, not dumping them off to get OTHER teams guys.

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Originally posted by Mittens

Why would we not bring him back? What other alternative would we have? He's an obvious team leader. We spend millions on Brunell and Portis, but can't spend the money where it counts, keeping people who have tenure with the team?


That was my first thought. The only thing i can think of is he wants too much money which would hamper other things the Redskins want to do. i don't think they can do anything anyway until Sameuels renogtiate. maybe the skins think they can get another CB who will fit in Williams system. now, we are just hearing his side of the story. maybe smoot is tired of losing and is putting his side out in the media first. they know what they are doing

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