Whisper Room

They need guards and their center is new. But the Redskins don't have to worry about offensive tackle. With Chris Samuels and Jon Jansen, that could be the case for a long time. But will it be? After all, Jansen is a free agent next season.

From what we hear, Jansen's side has approached the Redskins about a contract extension. But the Redskins, our spies tell us, have shown little interest in making such a move. Even when Jansen's side told them they wouldn't have to begin negotiations until the spring, Washington responded with ambivalence. That didn't sit well with Jansen.

He would like a deal completed by the time the season begins--who wouldn't? He also knows the Redskins have other needs, which is why his side offered to begin talks later. Will the Redskins want to shell out big bucks for him? We think they'll eventually try. But, from their perspective, what's the rush? They'll still be able to lock him up after the season, when free agency for Jansen is closer.

But it's a bit of a gamble. Though Jansen values loyalty, loves the Redskins as well as Northern Virginia, what happens if he discovers he doesn't like pass blocking so much? Or if the Redskins crash in Steve Spurrier's first season? Jansen also wants to win. And, if he's not re-signed, he might opt to test the market. For now, his ego probably is a little bruised. But it's nothing that will prevent him from staying.

. . . We're not sure how much interest the Redskins truly have in Dorsey Levens, the ex-Green Bay running back. Levens' agent, Hadley Engelhard, said today they haven't spoken to the Redskins in about a week.

''I'm not really sure if their interest is strong or not,'' Engelhard said.

He also said a half-dozen teams also want Levens. But we've also heard, and know, that owner Dan Snyder really likes Ki-Jana Carter, who filled in capably for Stephen Davis at times last season.

Levens would provide another option in the passing game, one the Redskins really don't have. And, yes, Spurrier would throw to his backs.

Also, keep this in mind: Engelhard, who also represents Jacquez Green, is a Florida alum. For what that's worth.


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