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News & Notes: Brown Cut; Kicker Signed

The Redskins have released kick return specialist Antonio Brown and replaced him on the roster with rookie kicker Nick Novak.

Novak, 6-0 and 190 pounds, played for the University of Maryland from 2001-04. He signed with the Chicago Bears as an undrafted rookie free agent and connected on all three of his field goal attempts during the preseason.

Novak was beaten out for the Bears' job by veteran Doug Brien. Upon Novak's release, he was signed by the Dallas Cowboys to compete with Jose Cortez in the preseason finale. But Cortez won the job and Novak, who was 1-of-2 with a 49-yarder for the Cowboys, was released again.

A four-year letterman at Maryland, Novak finished his career as the leading scorer in ACC history and tied for fifth in NCAA Division IA history with 393 career points on 80-of-107 field goals and 153-of-159 PATs. Novak hails from nearby Charlottesville, Va., and prepped at Albermarle High School.

Novak was brought in to replace kicker John Hall, who suffered a quad injury in last Sunday's game against the Chicago Bears. Hall is expected to miss practice this week and is likely sidelined for next Monday night game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Signed in November 2004, Brown has shown flashes as a kick return specialist, but he has also at times been careless with the football.

His release comes two days after he fumbled a kickoff that led to a touchdown in the season opener against the Chicago Bears. For the game, Brown returned two punts for five yards and one kickoff for 16 yards. After his fumble, he was replaced on kickoff returns by Ladell Betts. The Redskins held on to win 9-7 at FedExField.

Head coach Joe Gibbs and special teams coach Danny Smith have several options as replacements for Brown.

Betts and James Thrash could serve as kick returners, just as they did most of last season. Thrash and Santana Moss could share duties on punt returns.

With the release of Brown and the designation of quarterback Patrick Ramsey as the backup quarterback, Gibbs may be sending a message to the team that he has low tolerance for turnovers. Along with Brown's fumbled kickoff, Ramsey turned the ball over twice on Sunday, with one interception and one fumble.


Rookie quarterback Jason Campbell deftly avoided discussing the team's quarterback situation with reporters on Tuesday. He had no comment to the question of whether he was surprised at Gibbs' decision to start Mark Brunell over Ramsey on Monday night.

Campbell, who the Redskins selected with the 25th pick overall in the first round of last April's NFL Draft, remains the team's third quarterback behind Brunell and Ramsey.

Campbell said he has been learning from both Brunell and Ramsey all offseason and during the preseason.

Of Brunell, Campbell said: "He's a vet. He's been there before. He's a guy who has an edge because he knows everything going on inside the game. I just need to continue to keep learning from him and just keep working. I just have to continue to stay focused."

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