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Receiver Goodson catches on with 'Skins

By GREG AUMAN

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 14, 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 the coach 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. He 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 has any career NFL receptions, and four were cut by the 'Skins 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 Washington's 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 season, will return healthy this fall. Veteran Irving Fryar is back but is a prime choice for a salary cut as he's slated to make $3-million in 2001. Derrius Thompson is under contract for next season but was cut by the 'Skins three times in 2000.

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