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Havner, Redskins Hopeful, Brings Solid Credentials

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Dozens of young football hopefuls converged on Redskin Park late Thursday afternoon. As they milled around the team's facility, filled out paper work and underwent physical exams, one such hopeful stood out.

Not so much for anything he did or said but because he was the only young athlete in the facility wearing a Baltimore Orioles baseball cap.

"No special attachment," UCLA linebacker Spencer Havner explained, half-heartedly at that. "I just like the colors. Orange on black."

More so than those pigmentations, it's burgundy and gold Havner is hoping to one day don. He's one of 89 hopefuls at Redskins Park this weekend for rookie camp.

Havner and seven others have signed free agent contracts. Now, all 89 get three days to impress Redskins coaches.

Says Havner, a 6-4, 245-pounder who is one of the more intriguing figures at the facility this weekend: "At this point, I'm just thankful for the opportunity. This is a good situation and I'll try to make an impact anywhere the coaches put me."

It wasn't supposed to be like this for Havner.

Some NFL Draft experts figured that he would be a day one pick in the goings-on at New York's Radio City Music Hall last weekend.

After all, at UCLA, Havner put together an exceptional college career.

By his own assessment, he said Thursday, he was expecting to go in the third or fourth round, at least. Yet there was no phone call forthcoming from NFL clubs.

"Sure, it was disappointing," he said Thursday. "I haven't really been able to figure out why. Things have been happening so quickly in the past few days. I'm just glad for the opportunity to be here in this camp."

Havner led the Bruins in tackles in each of the past two seasons and was a four-year starter.

He ranks third all-time in school history with 402 tackles, intercepted 11 passes and scored four touchdowns (three via interceptions and one with a fumble return).

Further, Havner, a 23-year-old out of Nevada City, Calif., was a semifinalist for the Butkus and Lombardi Awards as both a junior and a senior. Reigning winners of those respective honors are Paul Posluszny of Penn State and A.J. Hawk of Ohio State.

UCLA tight end Marcedes Lewis went in the first round (at No. 28 overall) to Jacksonville and Bruins running back Maurice Drew was a second-round selection (No. 60) by the Jags. Safety Jarrad Page headed to Kansas City in the seventh round (No. 228).

Havner, one of five other UCLA products to sign free agent agreements with NFL clubs, will try to impress the Redskins coaching staff this weekend, perhaps in the manner Princeton's Zak Keasey did intermittently a year ago.

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