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Redskins 'Still Talking' With Westbrook


With Clinton Portis, Larry Johnson and Willie Parker, the Redskins are crowded at the running back position.

However, team officials remain interested in adding another veteran running back to the roster: free agent Brian Westbrook.

Westbrook, formerly with the Philadelphia Eagles and a two-time Pro Bowler, and the Redskins are "still talking," head coach Mike Shanahan said on Wednesday.

"He hasn't made a decision yet," Shanahan said.

Then Shanahan, perhaps half-joking, added: "I'm kind of talking to his brother [Redskins cornerback Byron] a little bit, trying to get in good with him – or a little better – and I'm not sure it has helped a whole lot, but I'll keep on trying."

In addition to visiting with the Redskins, Westbrook has visited with the St. Louis Rams and Denver Broncos.

Shanahan indicated that he viewed Westbrook as a potential third-down back in his offense.

"We're going to keep on trying to find the best players and Brian does bring something to the table in that third-down package," Shanahan said. "He has great hands. He has blocked. The more people we have compete, especially for certain positions, the better off we're going to be."

In addition to Portis, Johnson and Parker, the Redskins also have first-year running back Ryan Torain and undrafted rookie Keiland Williams competing for playing time.

In Portis, Johnson and Parker, the Redskins already have three of the best running backs of the last decade on their roster.

For example, in 2005, Parker, Portis and Johnson combined for 943 carries, 4,468 rushing yards and 35 rushing touchdowns.

However, they are each in the second half of their careers: Portis is 28, Johnson is 30 and Parker is 29.

During OTAs, Shanahan was asked how he is dividing up the reps between the five running backs on the roster.

"All five are getting reps and we're trying to give them as many reps as we can to all of them," he replied. "Some are in running situations, others are in passing situations. We've got five guys competing, so we're not overloading anybody.

"We're giving them enough work to where I think they can learn the offense and feel comfortable with it."

Meantime, Shanahan said he expected wide receiver Santana Moss and defensive end Andre Carter to begin practicing with the team next week.

Moss underwent arthroscopic knee surgery earlier this offseason, while Carter is easing back into action after undergoing biceps surgery.

On Carter, Shanahan said: "I think next Tuesday he will be back full speed. I think his biceps tendon is pretty close to being healed. I'd say it's [95 percent]. Hopefully there will be no setback in drills and he gets a couple weeks in our OTAs."

Shanahan was also complimentary of wide receiver and kick return specialist Brandon Banks, an undrafted rookie out of Kansas State.

"I think he has done a good job," Shanahan said. "He has been an excellent returner--obviously not very big but very fast. We ran him in the 40 and he broke 4.4 out here on the turf when the rookies ran.

"He is catching the ball really well too as a wide receiver. So he is competing right now and we will let time take care of itself, and we'll watch to see what he can do in the preseason games."

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