Morton Happy

All Chad Morton wanted was a chance. New York couldn't give it to him; Washington could. That's why he celebrated Monday's decision by arbitrator Richard Bloch.

''It was the best news I'd heard in a long time,'' said Morton, who was at Redskins Park Tuesday. A press conference is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.

Morton wanted a shot at playing running back, something he would not have gotten behind Curtis Martin in New York. The Jets also used Santana Moss on punt returns. That left only kickoff returns for Morton.

Washington plans to use him in a variety of ways. Offensive coordinator Hue Jackson coached Morton for three seasons at USC and plans to try him at running back.

It's that opportunity Morton craved. And it's why he and his agent, Leigh Steinberg, declined a new, and more lucrative, offer by the Jets before Thursday's hearing.

''This is the outcome I wanted,'' Morton said. ''I wasn't prepared to take anything more. I'd rather take the chance with the trial. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. No amount of money could compensate for me being able to reach my dream of playing running back again.

''I was happy with the Jets, but this is a better fit and opportunity for me here. I have a chance to do punt returns and reunite with my old coach. When I was with the Jets I practiced kick returns and did nothing else the whole practice. Nothing is promised here, but I know I'll have the opportunity of fighting for a spot.''

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