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Daniels Signs, Bolstering D-Line

The Redskins have signed veteran defensive end Phillip Daniels, who was released by the Chicago Bears on Monday. Daniels brings added versatility to the Redskins' defensive line with his ability to play both sides at end, as well as fill in at tackle.

The 6-5, 285-pounder comes to Washington after spending the previous four seasons with the Bears. He played under current Redskins' defensive coordinator Greg Blache each of those seasons.

Daniels said Tuesday that he feels comfortable playing either right or left defensive end and is willing to move inside to play some at tackle should the need arise.

"I played right end my first few years and played well, and then Greg asked me to move to left end so that Alex Brown could play right," Daniels said. "I had no problem with that. Then he asked me to move inside on pass rush downs. So I feel comfortable wherever I play. I'm a team guy. I don't care where I am, just as long as I win."

Said head coach Joe Gibbs: "Phillip is someone who is very versatile—he can play all the way across the board. He's the right kind of person, which is very important. As soon as it came across that we could talk to him, he was the first guy we wanted to get on the plane and get him here."

Daniels was released in part because the Bears expect to start 2003 first-round draft pick Michael Haynes at left defensive end next season. Because Daniels was released, he was eligible to sign with another team prior to the March 3 start of free agency.

Last season, Daniels started all 16 games at left defensive end, recording 64 tackles, 2.5 sacks and one forced fumble. He also added his first career blocked field goal in the Bears' victory over the Oakland Raiders.

Upon his release from the Bears, several teams were interested in acquiring Daniels—including those NFL teams that had hired former Bears' defensive assistant coaches from last year's coaching staff, Daniels said.

The deciding factors in his coming to Washington were his relationship with Blache and his desire to play on the east coast so that his family in Georgia could see him play more often.

"Plus the chance to get to the Super Bowl," he said. "Coach Joe Gibbs—he's got three Super Bowls."

In eight NFL seasons, including four with Seattle from 1996-99, Daniels has started 100 games and compiled 44.5 sacks, 393 tackles (252 solo), nine forced fumbles and seven fumble recoveries.

His best season was 2001 when he led the Bears defensive line with nine sacks and a career-high 72 tackles. That year, the Bears were second in the NFL and first in the NFC in rushing defense, allowing just 82.1 yards per contest.

Originally drafted in the fourth round of the 1996 NFL Draft by the Seahawks, Daniels played in 15 games as a rookie before taking over the starting right defensive end position a year later. In 1999, he led the Seahawks in sacks with nine.

Daniels will celebrate his 31st birthday on Thursday. A native of Donalson, Ga., he was a four-year letterman at the University of Georgia (1992-95), where he gained experience playing defensive end, linebacker and defensive tackle. He finished his collegiate career with 244 tackles and 12 sacks.

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