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For Duckett, Team Comes First

Some NFL players get charged up to play their former team--witness LaVar Arrington earlier this season when he was about to face the Redskins for the first time.

Then there's Redskins running back T.J. Duckett, who more than anything else seemed amused that he was about to play the Atlanta Falcons, his team from 2002-05, this Sunday at FedExField.

In his comments to reporters on Wednesday, Duckett kept his focus on the team, not himself. Asked if he was eager to pay back the Falcons for trading him, Duckett chuckled.

"It's not me versus them," the former Michigan State standout said. "As a team, we have a goal and that's to win this next game. The Falcons happen to be the next game on the list and we have to get the job done."

The Redskins acquired Duckett last August as part of a three-team trade with the Denver Broncos and Falcons. The Redskins sent a conditional draft pick to the Broncos, the Broncos sent wide receiver Ashley Lelie to the Falcons and the Redskins obtained Duckett.

Duckett said he has not even followed the 5-6 Falcons this year.

"I've been trying to learn the offense up here," he said.

Believe him? Well, at the very least Duckett has spoken with Falcons running back Warrick Dunn at various times this season. The two spoke while Duckett was struggling to get playing time behind Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts earlier this year.

"I talked to him a couple times," Dunn told Washington, D.C., reporters in a conference call on Wednesday. "The thing that you can do is tell him to keep his head up and always stay ready. He is a competitor.

In Atlanta, Dunn was a slashing-style of back, while Duckett, at 6-0 and 254 pounds, was a big, bruising back.

"We got along well when he was here," Dunn said. "When his number is called, he is going to be ready to play. I just hope he doesn't get out there this week, get his number called and have a career game against us. We know what type of back he is. It will be good to see him, but not good to play against him."

Duckett has seen limited action as a Redskin. He has rushed for 90 yards on 19 carries this season.

In four seasons with the Falcons, Duckett rushed for 2,175 yards and 31 touchdowns.

So is he even a little revved up to play his former team?

"I'm excited to play--I have a lot of friends still there," Duckett said. "I'm excited to have a chance to make plays. But this game is all about winning and it's going to take everybody. I'll have my fun, but in the end it's all about team."

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