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Receiver Goodson catches on with 'Skins

By GREG AUMAN

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 13, 2001


Tyrone Goodson has found a new home with the Washington Redskins.

The former Central standout was granted his release by the XFL last week and signed a two-year contract with the Redskins.

Goodson said he will have his best chance to fulfill his lifelong dream of playing in the NFL in Washington.

"It's a good opportunity for me to play," Goodson said Friday. "This is the right situation for me. I've been wanting this."

The receiver had been close to signing with the Redskins in December, but he was under contract with the XFL's Memphis Maniax. Memphis released Goodson weeks after he met with team coaches and told them he didn't want to play in the upstart league.

Goodson flew to Washington last week and said he had a 40-minute workout, with new Redskins head coach Marty Schottenheimer among several coaches in attendance.

"I was nervous when I saw (Schottenheimer) was there," said Goodson, who has recovered fully from the knee surgery that kept him from playing last season.

"I never did a workout for that many people, but that tells me that they take this seriously."

Goodson said Schottenheimer remembered him from scouting Auburn when he was with the Kansas City Chiefs, who used their first-round pick in 1998 on Tigers tackle Victor Riley. Goodson is excited about being reunited with Redskins tailback Stephen Davis, a teammate and friend for two seasons at Auburn.

Davis flew from Washington in 1998 to celebrate Goodson's graduation at Auburn and called him when the Redskins were close to signing him in December.

Washington has told Goodson it will not allocate him to NFL Europe this spring. Goodson had hoped he would be able to gain experience in the spring farm league, but Redskins coaches told him they want him to attend the club's minicamps and learn the offense as quickly as possible.

Signing with the Redskins doesn't guarantee Goodson a job with the team. He's one of six receivers signed by Washington as "street' free agents since Dec. 28. None of the six have any career NFL receptions, and four were cut by the Redskins in the preseason last year.

The Redskins, who made headlines last spring by spending big on free agents, won't have the same luxury this year. The team must free up as much as $5.9-million in salary-cap space by March 2 just to get under the cap, let alone sign any free agents.

Schottenheimer has targeted receiver as a major off-season need, but two of theRedskins' top targets last year -- Albert Connell and James Thrash -- could leave via free agency.

Michael Westbrook, who missed all but two games with injuries last year, will return healthy this fall. Veteran Irving Fryarreturns but is a prime choice for a salary cut as he is slated to make $3-million in 2001. Another receiver, Derrius Thompson, is under contract for next season but was cut by the 'Skins three times in 2000.

According to the NFL Players Association, Goodson would make $193,000 in 2001 if he makes the Redskins' roster, and his salary would increase to $275,000 in 2002. His salary for next season matches the lowest among the 50 Redskins players under contract for this season.

That leaves Goodson in good position to contend with the rest of the unproven but inexpensive receivers for spots on Washington's roster, assuming the team doesn't address that position in the draft. "This is a better opportunity than what I had (in 1999 with the Green Bay Packers)," said Goodson, who spent most of that season on the Packers' practice squad. I'm excited, and I'm just going to go out there and do my thing."

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