Whisper Room

What are the chances that Vinny Cerrato will return? How about Michael Westbrook? We think we have a decent idea about both...

. . . Vinny Cerrato didn't make much of a mark in his two seasons with the Redskins, save for trading for players such as Barron Tanner and Tito Paul. But brace yourself: he might return. Or will he?

Cerrato is living in Chicago where his wife, a doctor, has a good job and he's working for ESPN. A league source said Cerrato's work with ESPN will increase next season. But a Redskins source said Cerrato wants to get back into the NFL. Regardless, it would not be as a GM, but as a personnel guy--or as a buffer between owner Daniel Snyder and everyone else. Like he was before.

And remember this: Cerrato's firing last year ticked off Snyder, who was caught off guard by the move. Only Snyder could fire Cerrato, but Marty Schottenheimer did the deed instead. That, as much as anything, started the Snyder-Schottenheimer marriage rolling downhill.

Also, Snyder's parents adored Cerrato and clearly were upset by his firing as well. Word is, when the Redskins' brass sat around one night, they tossed out Cerrato's name. While many in the room laughed, it's not something anyone is taking lightly.

. . . Will Michael Westbrook return now that Washington has a coach who likes to throw the ball? It's not guaranteed. Westbrook said Wednesday that he's still going to check out his options and probably will test the market.

He said he'd love to stay in Washington and he'd be thrilled to play in Spurrier's offense. But business is business. And Westbrook plans to approach this without emotion.

But there's one thing he won't do: play tight end, as one paper reported the Redskins might ask him to do. ''I'd rather quit,'' Westbrook said.

Keep this in mind: Snyder has grown fond of Westbrook. It could eventually make a difference.

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