Trotter bolsters defense

The Redskins haven't found the answer to many of their needs. So, today, they decided to strengthen an already strong position, signing linebacker Jeremiah Trotter to a seven-year deal.

Trotter received a $7 million signing bonus, making his contract worth $35.5 million.

He gives Washington yet another Pro Bowler at linebacker, joining fellow Hawaii travelers LaVar Arrington and Jessie Armstead.

Like the other two, Trotter is emotional and productive. He led Philadelphia with 164 tackles this past season and was voted the defensive MVP by his teammates.

Eagles coach Andy Reid once said of Trotter, ''He became the pulse of that defense. He's a very emotional player. He's not afraid to be vocal with the players and he's very demanding of himself. He sets a tempo for that side of the football.''

The Eagles had applied the franchise tag label on Trotter. But they removed it three weeks ago when it became clear that an irked Trotter had no intention of signing a long-term deal.

Trotter apparently remains miffed. And he knows signing with Washington provides him an opportunity to play Philadelphia twice. It's something he wants. Trotter worked his way to the Pro Bowl in 2000. He was a third-round pick out of Stephen F. Austin in 1998, but was inactive for almost every game.

He won the job in the 1999 training camp and led the Eagles with 202 tackles.

''He has a great playing personality,'' Redskins vice president of football operations Joe Mendes told The Journal Newspapers. ''He has excellent leadership qualities and has been highly productive since he entered the NFL. And he's a heavy hitter. We're ecstatic. He's just an excellent individual. He'll be well-received in the community, the locker room and on the field.''

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