Redskins DT Noble out for seasonPosted: Sunday August 17, 2003 3:38 PM
Updated: Sunday August 17, 2003 8:04 PM
ASHBURN, Va. (AP) -- Defensive tackle Brandon Noble is out for the season with a major knee injury, leaving the Washington Redskins scrambling to fill a position that was already very thin.
Noble tore three ligaments in his left knee and dislocated the kneecap when three players fell on him during a running play in the first quarter of Saturday night's 20-13 loss to the New England Patriots.
Noble had an MRI early Sunday and later arrived at Redskins Park with the bad news. He faces one or two surgeries and a full year of rehabilitation on an injury that could end his career.
"It's going to be a long, long road back -- if it is even done," Noble said.
Noble, a solid locker room leader, signed a four-year, $7 million deal, including a $1.8 million bonus, leaving Dallas as a free agent during the offseason. He replaced inside force Daryl Gardener, whom the team decided not to re-sign.
The Redskins cut Dan Wilkinson, their other starting tackle from last year, on the second day of training camp after he refused to accept a pay cut. Since then, the team has been trying to put together a viable defensive line rotation using a combination of players with modest experience.
The situation has upset 19-year veteran defensive end Bruce Smith, who had campaigned for Wilkinson not to be released because he felt there wasn't a viable alternative.
After seeing Noble's injury, Smith was visibly frustrated.
"We should have kept one of those two defensive tackles, either Gardener or Big Daddy," Smith said. "It's the reason we're in the situation we're in right now. The best decision for us is to go out and get Big Daddy or someone comparable, because right now we're just a little short. We've got to stop this run. We've got to stop this run or it's going to be a long year."
Wilkinson signed a four-year deal with the Detroit Lions Sunday, ending the slim possibility that he would re-sign with Washington.
One possible solution for the Redskins is Lional Dalton, who is being shopped by Denver for a possible trade.
Dalton started 13 games last season, helping the Broncos rank sixth in the NFL against the run, but Denver feels it has sufficient depth at the position and would like to deal Dalton for a draft pick.
Asked if the team will be adding someone soon, coach Steve Spurrier said: "We'll probably try to."
Further complicating matters, defensive lineman Bernard Jackson, expected to be a backup at both the tackle and end positions, severely sprained his ankle in the game and could be out a month.
Noble, who had an injury-free career during his four seasons in Dallas, said he knew immediately he was in trouble when the pile landed on him Saturday.
"You kind of know where your kneecap is, and when it's not where it's supposed to be," he said.
Also Sunday, Spurrier confirmed that Bryan Barker outperformed Brent Bartholomew in Saturday's punting duel. Bartholomew is expected to be cut, with Barker competing with David Leaverton for the regular season job.
"It appears Bryan right now is our leader on that," Spurrier said. "We're hoping he's got his confidence back, because he is an excellent punter. He's just got to do it in the games."
Spurrier said he was dissatisfied with his offense, which sputtered again with penalties, dropped passes, a costly turnover and a bad shotgun snap.
"Our offense is not performing well at all," Spurrier said. "It's a combination of a little bit of everything. If we've got to get the pass off, the protection breaks down. It's the whole deal -- it's quarterbacks, receivers, pass protectors, they all got to go together. We don't have it all together right now."
Notes: Quarterback Patrick Ramsey bruised his knuckles when his
throwing hand hit someone's helmet during the game. The hand was
bandaged as Ramsey left Redskins Park on Sunday, but he said he
didn't think he would miss any practice time. ... The Redskins
began negotiations on Sunday with Jack Reale, the agent for
cornerback Champ Bailey, on a possible contract extension. Bailey's
contract expires at the end of the season, and he has said he'd
like a team-record signing bonus of about $18 million.