New WR gets chance for redemption

The last time Reidel Anthony was paired with Steve Spurrier, he sped past corners, made big plays and earned hefty praise. Anthony, and Spurrier, hope that can happen again.

The Redskins signed Anthony to a one-year, $525,000 deal on Friday, reuniting the two former Gators. For Anthony, it's a chance to reignite a career that has sputtered the past three seasons.

Also, Washington traded defensive tackle Jerry DeLoach to Houston for quarterback Danny Wuerffel, another ex-Gator and teammate of Anthony's.

Anthony's career stalled in Tampa Bay, where he caught a combined 28 passes the past two seasons.

He was known more for his key drops than his key catches, blowing touchdown passes in at least three pivotal games the past three seasons.

And he was more known for getting swindled by his agent, Tank Black, than for his production. Black was convicted on federal charges of swindling clients of $14 million, taking at least $1 million from Anthony.

One Bucs' observer said Anthony soon went into a funk. He hasn't recovered and now his career is marked with inconsistency. Also, he landed in trouble before one game when he missed a team meeting. Then-coach Tony Dungy put him on the inactive list for the next game.

Anthony has caught a combined 28 passes the past two years.

''Reidel is a good kid,'' Tampa Bay General Manager Rich McKay said earlier this season. ''He's not someone with issues off the field. He has just struggled at times with his confidence. You just want him to make his career a little bit more important at times. But this is a good kid.''

He's also talented. As a junior at Florida, the big-play Anthony caught 72 passes, including 18 for touchdowns. He set a Florida record by catching a touchdown pass in 11 straight games.

He caught 35 passes as a rookie in 1997, then grabbed 51 the following season. Since then, Anthony's career has stalled.

Anthony can also help Washington as a returner--the Redskins might release kick returner Michael Bates and probably won't re-sign punt returner Eric Metcalf.

Anthony has averaged 23.5 yards on 95 career kickoff returns. The Redskins likely will pursue another ex-Gator and ex-Buc receiver in Jacquez Green.

John Keim covers the Redskins for The Journal Newspapers and is a correspondent for Pro Football Weekly.

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