Redskins Notes: OTA's Begin

They felt refreshed. And that alone is why they're glad they had the choice to stay away from Redskins Park the past two months.

'There's more excitement,'' said Redskins right tackle Jon Jansen, who spent the time working out in Michigan.

He was one of a handful of players who opted to take advantage of Joe Gibbs' willingness to let his players choose where they wanted to work. But they returned to Ashburn today for the first day of organized team activities.

Several players were vocal toward the end of last season about their desire to work out elsewhere. Some complained of being burned out; others said they wanted to stick to what they had been doing before coming to Washington.

‘'This helped me to work in an environment that I like to work around,'' said receiver Santana Moss, who worked at the University of Miami. ‘'It's what you grew up in and what you're accustomed to doing. And when you're up here and it's chilly, you can't run like you can run in Miami.''

Running back Clinton Portis said, ‘'It makes it easier to come back and do this. We had an opportunity to enjoy our off season and get away from football. [Now] it's time to start getting back in the mode. It's time to start getting your mind right.''

... Sean Taylor and Shawn Springs both did not participate in the first day of OTAs. They're believed to be the only players who did not show up. As one veteran said of Springs, ''You're not surprised, are you?''

...Portis said he's doing a lot of stretching of his shoulder and is not yet ready to stop rehabbing. He's not sure if he'll participate in the June minicamp, but should be ready for training camp.

... End Phillip Daniels said both his surgically repaired ankles and his wrist are fine. He's being held out of the OTA's until his wrist is fully healed.

...It's so good to have Fred Smoot around again, if only for his disposition and quips. It's hard to believe the problems he had in Minnesota, but he's clearly a happy guy again.

''It's a happier time,'' he said. ''Any time you're happy, you're always warm. In Minnesota it was cold. It could feel cold in Minnesota and it could be 90 degrees.... If you look around the NFL, there are a lot of people who when they're not happy their performance drops.''

...Word is the Redskins D-linemen are optimistic about a turnaround because, as one said, ''they're going to let us get after it. They never let us get after it last year.'' I'm dubious when I hear such comments, but it's what they believe.

...The Redskins officially signed running back Derrick Blaylock and also receiver Dan Melendez and Kyle Brown. Blaylock's arrival means trouble for Nehemiah Broughton. The Redskins also placed receiver Steven Harris on injured reserve, which is a shame for a guy who has bided his time on the practice squad and works awfully hard.

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