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Redskins Give Basketball Player a Look

The Redskins brought in former University of Pittsburgh basketball star Chevon Troutman for a workout at tight end on Friday. But Troutman didn't impress Redskins coaches in his brief stint and was one of the players with whom the team has decided to part ways.

The 6-7, 240-pound Troutman recently completed an outstanding college basketball career at Pitt. But he hasn't played football since high school, at Williamsport Area High School in Pennsylvania.

Troutman, Pennsylvania's "Mr. Basketball" in 2000, joined 70 other players who were drafted, signed as free agents or getting workouts at Redskin Park this weekend.

In some ways, his career aspirations resemble those of San Diego Charger Antonio Gates, a high school star in Detroit who went the route of college basketball at Kent State. Gates was one of the key stories of the 2003 NFL season as he returned to football with the Chargers and has developed into a Pro Bowl talent.

In terms of the picture for Troutman with the Redskins, it appeared to be a long-shot situation at best.

Following an early afternoon workout at Redskins Park Friday, Redskins tight end coach Rennie Simmons said of Troutman: "You can see the athletic skills he has. But he struggled to pick up some of the terminology and in fairness to him, remember, he hasn't played the game since high school."

The Redskins regarded the tight end position as one of the weakest in last weekend's 2005 NFL draft. Vice president of football operations Vinny Cerrato and team scouts and personnel officials began combing the ranks of college basketball and discussing the situation with NBA scouts.

Troutman's name surfaced as a young athlete with talent who might be able to make an impression.

Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs praised Mike Rutenberg, a football assistant to the head coach, for coming up with the suggestion that the team give Troutman a shot.

For his part, Troutman said of his efforts to make the transition from basketball to football: "It's a lot different. It's a whole different feel. I feel like I can play in the NFL, but I need time to learn."

The Redskins should see both Tony Gonzalez of Kansas City and San Diego's Gates during the course of the 2005 NFL season. Now two of the league's top tight ends, Gonzalez (California) and Gates (Kent State) were once highly-regarded players in another sport: basketball.

The success of Gonzales and Gates at the NFL level no doubt was a factor in the Redskins' decision to take a look at Troutman.

Also let go from camp were the following players: quarterback Zack Mills, offensive lineman Amos Lamb, cornerback Tyrone Hall, safety Ron Frazier and linebackers Malcolm Postell and Mike Sanders.

With first-round draft pick Jason Campbell the only remaining QB left at camp, the team will work out quarterbacks Bryson Spinner out of Richmond and Tom Petrie out of Northern Iowa on Saturday and Sunday.

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