Skins Sign a Veteran Leader

The Redskins monitored Pierson Prioleau's situation closely the past few weeks, waiting for the day Buffalo might release him. When it happened, they pounced, anxious to sign a player who bolsters their depth and improves their special teams.

Prioleau is not expected to become a starter -- the Redskins already have Sean Taylor and they liked Matt Bowen's play before he was hurt. But he'll add welcomed depth. More importantly, they like his special teams play.

Washington's special teams lacked many stalwarts this past season and it showed in their performance. But Prioleau, who comes from a family of Redskins fans and who lives in Radford, Va., improves that.

''One of our goals in the offseason was to add three to five guys who are really core group special teams guys,'' Redskins coach Joe Gibbs said. ''Pierson is the biggest one we were thinking about.''

Redskins special teams coach Danny Smith coached Prioleau in Buffalo. So, too, did defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and safeties coach Steve Jackson. They'll like use Prioleau in multiple packages -- he once played corner with San Francisco.

''He's extremely physical and tough,'' Gibbs said.

And versatile, having earned the nickname Mr. Versatility at Virginia Tech.

''I will do just about anything,'' Prioleau said. ''If you want me to lead special teams, I will. If you want me to lead the young guys in the secondary, I will.''

He also prides himself in his special teams play. Smith handed out the Big Stick Award to his Bills players for special teams hits. When Prioleau found out he does the same thing in Washington, he predicted, ''You might as well put my initials on that stick now.''

''I might not be the best at it,'' the 5-foot-11, 188-pound Prioleau said. ''But I sure do enjoy it.''

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