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Coles' Status Uncertain; Trade Possible

Head coach Joe Gibbs said on Saturday the team is considering trading wide receiver Laveranues Coles, but he stressed that no transaction is imminent and it's possible that Coles will remain a Redskin.

"For us, Laveranues Coles is a very valuable guy," Gibbs said. "If we can work something out with somebody, that would be fine. If not, he'll probably remain a Redskin. He's very valuable and we think we would have to have some real value [for him]. That's a simple statement and I won't elaborate on anything else."

Gibbs declined to discuss which teams have expressed interest in acquiring Coles. He also said there was no deadline for Coles to be traded.

The possibility that Coles could be traded--suggested in media reports last week--was a surprising development. Just two years ago, Coles was the Redskins' signature offseason acquisition, signing in Washington as a restricted free agent after three years with the New York Jets.

Coles has lived up to his billing, catching 172 passes for 2,174 yards and two touchdowns. Last season, his 90 catches were the third-most in a single season by a Redskins receiver.

Gibbs first addressed Coles' situation last Monday after a Washington Post report suggested that the wide receiver might be released by the team. Gibbs called the report "inaccurate and untrue."

Gibbs and Coles have had several discussions this offseason, Gibbs said. Asked if Coles, should he not be traded, would attend the Redskins' offseason workouts and mini-camps, Gibbs responded: "Laveranues and I have talked all along and what I said last week--we've had really good talks. He understands how I feel and I understand how he feels. It's one of those things in life you work through."

Gibbs was asked if Coles was unhappy in the Redskins' offense and if the two had discussed his role.

"As I've said many times, the offense falls on me," Gibbs said. "We weren't very productive last year, so I really hope we can help our football team this year and step up offensively. That's my fault and my problem and I need to take the blame for everything that happens. It's certainly an area that I'm hoping we can correct and be very productive next year."

Coles, 27, has played through a lingering toe injury for most of the last two seasons. He took cortisone shots in the toe at various times during the season.

Gibbs said the injury did not appear to hinder Coles last season.

"All you have to do is watch him play," Gibbs said. "He had a shot mid-year and he has the best toe specialist in the world look at it and they felt like it was something that would remedy the situation. He played great and it did. He feels great about it right now."

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