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Redskins in a rush for their 2 rookies


ASHBURN, Va. - Prized first-round draft picks LaVar Arrington and Chris Samuels could be in training camp as early as today, the second day of practice for Washington Redskins rookies.

Even if the two sign their contracts and suit up for this afternoon's session at Redskin Park, it will come about a day late as far as coach Norv Turner is concerned.

Yesterday "was urgent for me," Turner said of the importance of having the rookies present before the veterans practice on Thursday. 'They missed a whole day of our installation. They are behind all of our other rookies. As quickly as they can get in here, it is going to help them, and it is going to help us."

The latest the rookies are expected to sign is Thursday. If that happens, Arrington and Samuels will miss an early chance to show they deserve to start in the Redskins' first preseason game Aug. 4 in Tampa, Fla.

Arrington is listed behind Greg Jones at strong-side linebacker on the depth chart, Samuels behind Andy Heck at left tackle.

If things go right for the Redskins, both rookies should unseat the veterans and contribute like the second and third overall picks in the draft they were.

They will be getting that kind of money, with Arrington's signing bonus to be a little less than $11 million, and Samuels' a little more than $10 million, according to published reports.

Samuels reportedly will receive a six-year deal averaging about $5 million per with a voidable seventh year, with Arrington expected to get about the same. Not having either in practice yesterday came as almost no surprise, as many first-round draft choices have yet to sign contracts.

"There are only what, six first-rounders in?" said Vinny Cerrato, director of player personnel. "When you have high picks like that, there is a lot that goes into the contract. You can be close on some things, but it takes awhile to get everything together."

Once the rookies sign, the Redskins will turn their attention to running back Stephen Davis, who has declined a one-year tender offer.

The other highly talked about draft pick, quarterback Todd Husak, was at camp but he wasn't sharp. The sixth-round selection from Stanford threw two interceptions to cornerback Lloyd Harrison, a third-round pick out of North Carolina State.

Starting quarterback Brad Johnson and backup Jeff George were also on hand, but Husak took the majority of the snaps in afternoon practice that lasted close to two hours.

"I didn't throw the ball as well as I'd like to," Husak said. "But it was only the first day. That is why we are here.Once the veterans come, we aren't going to get the reps as we are over the next couple of days. It is important to come out here and show what we got."

For a first practice, it was actually rather spirited, with what amounted to about half the 84-man roster working out in pads.

This is the first year training camp is being held at the team's facility in Virginia. In recent years, the Redskins practiced in Frostburg but decided to move to its facility and become the only NFL team to charge ($10 a person) to watch practice.

Redskins owner Daniel Snyder approved about $2 million worth of improvements to the facility, which will house the NFL Experience as well as other interactive games starting Thursday for fans who wish to attend training camp. The facility can hold 7,500 during the week and more over the weekend.

The team is staying in a hotel about 20 minutes from Redskin Park. Veterans are expected to arrive tomorrow night. Rookies will practice twice a day over the next two days.

"The coaches are excited, the players are excited. We don't believe having practice here will be a distraction at all," Redskins president Steve Baldacci said. "You talk to anybody in athletics, the more familiar the surroundings, the more focused you'll be. And we are excited about that."

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