Davis, Redskins reach agreement on 1-year deal


ASHBURN, Va. - The news spread late in the afternoon practice and was met by relief from coaches and players as they headed off the field.

Washington Redskins starting running back Stephen Davis had agreed to a one-year, $3.532 million tender and will be in town today.

"Our entire team knows how important he is to what we try and do," Redskins coach Norv Turner said.

Davis, designated the team's franchise player, declined to sign the team's one-year tender as late as last week.

But director of player personnel Vinny Cerrato said he thought Davis had a change of heart once practice got under way with him sitting at home.

"I think Stephen Davis probably helped out," Cerrato said. "I think he misses the game. He misses the action and being here. I think Stephen got anxious and wanted to get in. When two sides want the same thing, it's going to work out."

Cerrato also said the team will negotiate a long-term deal with Davis' agent, Steve Weinberg, during the season. If a long-term deal is not reached, the Redskins could potentially use the franchise tag on Davis again next season. However, if Davis reaches certain incentives this season, he could be the Redskins' transitional player next season.

Earlier in the off-season, Davis declined a five-year, $31 million deal with a $5 million signing bonus.

Yesterday, though, Cerrato was pleased the team got its starting running back and declared the Redskins have one down and one to go. The one left is No. 2 pick LaVar Arrington, who missed his fifth day of practice yesterday, although the sides are close on a deal.

"Everything is still the same," Cerrato said.

Asked what Davis missed not being in practice the past two days, Turner replied, "Nothing. A couple of weeks means a heck of a lot. Stephen will get in here and know what we are doing. He was in the minicamps. He's been in all the meetings. We've got to use next month to get in shape."

Arrington, on the other hand, is missing a great deal.

"The situation is a heck of a lot more critical for LaVar," Turner said. "LaVar has had five days of minicamp. It's critical, every day he misses."

The question now turns to Davis' health after he suffered through a high left ankle sprain late last season. He missed the final two regular-season games but returned to rush for 119 yards and two touchdowns in the Redskins' 27-14 first-round playoff win over the Detroit Lions.

He set the team record by rushing for 1,405 yards last year, making his first Pro Bowl.

"In June, he was running and cutting and going through drills out here 100 percent and moving pretty good," Turner said. "We didn't put him in any team work, because, obviously, his contract situation was up in the air. I expect him to be 100 percent.

'The guys when they are away from our group, they work hard and get in pretty good shape. They don't get in as of good of shape as when they are working with [strength coach] Dan Riley. We are going to make sure we get him in great shape."

Skip Hicks and Adrian Murrell, who were splitting the starting role, will now compete to see who will be the top backup to Davis.

Davis beat out Hicks last preseason in the backfield. Turner likes Davis' straight-ahead running style, and his arrival brings together a Redskins offense that never scored fewer than 17 points in a game last season.

NOTES: Cornerback Lloyd Harrison, the team's third-round pick out of North Carolina State, had the best day at practice yesterday, intercepting a pass and breaking up numerous others. ... Fullback Mike Sellers gave the team a slight scare after he got hit in the back while stretching out for a pass. Sellers got up to an ovation after about 25 seconds on the ground.

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