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Quarterback depleted Redskins sign Banks

The Associated Press

CARLISLE, Pa.

Friday, August 17, 2001

CARLISLE, Pa. – The quarterback-depleted Washington Redskins signed Tony Banks on Thursday, two days after a bitter release from the Dallas Cowboys nearly made him quit the sport.

”One day you’re on one team, the next day you’re on the other,” Banks said. ”It’s not how I pictured it, but here I am.”

Banks will battle Todd Husak for the No. 2 job behind Jeff George. Banks is the only healthy veteran arm in camp – George has tendinitis in his shoulder, and Husak has a strained rib muscle.

Banks, who signed a one-year deal, practiced with the Redskins on Thursday afternoon, but will not play in Friday’s exhibition game against Atlanta. Unless Husak’s condition improves, fourth-round draft pick Sage Rosenfels will start.

Banks has 61 career NFL starts over five seasons, but he has lost the No. 1 job in St. Louis, Baltimore and Dallas. He was signed as the replacement for Troy Aikman in April, but was cut after two exhibition games and rookie Quincy Carter was made the starter.

”There was a point when I was ready to give it up completely,” Banks said. ”It was a knee-jerk reaction, an emotional time. I thought I was playing my best football at camp.”

Banks has 61 career touchdown passes and 58 interceptions. His 72.1 rating is 24th among active passers with at least 1,000 attempts.

GREELEY, Colo. (AP) – Denver Broncos quarterback Steve Beuerlein will miss at least the first eight weeks of the regular season with a partially torn tendon in his right elbow.

Beuerlein, who had surgery to repair a ligament in the elbow in February, could be placed on injured reserve – meaning he would be out for the year – if the pain does not subside. In that case, surgery would be an option.

”Obviously decisions have to be made,” Beuerlein said. ”Whatever’s going to come out of it remains to be seen, but it’s not an ideal situation for me, for sure.”

The 36-year-old Beuerlein, a Pro Bowl selection in 1999, will not throw a football for 2-to-3 weeks.

If Beuerlein is healthy, the Broncos would have four quarterbacks on their roster for at least eight games. Placing Beuerlein on injured reserve would open a roster spot and still leave Denver well-stocked at quarterback with starter Brian Griese and backups Gus Frerotte and Jarious Jackson.

Beuerlein apparently had a torn tendon at the time of his elbow surgery in February but believed the problem was fixed along with the ligament. He was pain-free during the team’s June mini-camp and was unsure what caused the latest tear.

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) – The Carolina Panthers ended training camp healthier than they were the previous two seasons under coach George Seifert.

Although a dozen players spent Thursday’s practice working on the side with trainer Jerry Simmons, everyone is expected to be ready for the regular season. Last year, the Panthers lost three players to season-ending injuries during training camp.

The Panthers also received good news about tight end Wesley Walls.

Seifert said Walls will play a series Saturday night against New England, less than nine months after having reconstructive knee surgery.

Walls tore his ACL midway through last season, snapping a string of four straight Pro Bowl appearances. Walls was not expected to play until next week.

”We’ve had certainly more people on the practice field, and we’ve been able to accomplish more from that standpoint,” Seifert said. ”I think there have been fewer distractions. There hasn’t been the sense that so-and-so is going to get the job done, so we’ll stand around and watch so-and-so play.”

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) – The Arizona Cardinals released strong safety Tommy Bennett, a starter from 1997 to 1999 who saw limited playing time last season.

Bennett, who joined the team as an unrestricted free agent in 1996, underwent reconstructive knee surgery after suffering an injury in the last game of the 1999 season. He played in only 11 games last year.

He recorded 379 tackles (189 solo) with the Cardinals.

PITTSFORD, N.Y. (AP) – The emergence of the Buffalo Bills’ young offensive linemen made veteran tackle Robert Hicks expendable.

”I don’t think it was a question of what we didn’t like, I think it was a question of what we liked about the young kids,” Bills president Tom Donahoe said. ”All we can evaluate is what we see, and we see some good things from our young people.”

Hicks had missed the two days of practice this week complaining of tendinitis in his right knee after playing as a backup right tackle in Buffalo’s preseason-opening 24-10 loss to St. Louis on Sunday.

Donahoe said the tendinitis – Hicks had arthroscopic surgery last April – had nothing to do with his release.

The Bills’ third-round draft pick in 1998, Hicks started 23 of the 38 games he appeared in with Buffalo. After starting in a career-high 14 games in 1999, Hicks’ performance regressed.

He started only seven games last season and was listed third on the Bills depth chart behind rookie draft picks Jonas Jennings and Marques Sullivan.

GEORGETOWN, Ky. (AP) – Bengals tight end Sean Brewer will be evaluated at a Cincinnati hospital to determine whether he has a hernia.

Brewer, the Bengals’ third-round draft pick out of San Jose State, missed two weeks of practice with lingering groin and hamstring soreness.

If Brewer has a hernia, he might require surgery and a recovery period of 6-to-8 weeks.

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) – Chicago Bears running back James Allen will make his preseason debut against the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday night.

Sidelined by a hip injury since Aug. 1, Allen has also been slowed by ankle tendinitis.

Allen, who last season became the Bears’ first 1,000-yard rusher since 1995, practiced on Wednesday and Thursday and pronounced himself ready for the Chiefs.

”He’s not going to be in (playing) shape,” Bears coach Dick Jauron said. ”We’re not going to pretend he’s in shape.

”There will be plenty of room to work him in there, but not exhaust him at the same time.”