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Tuthill in position to step in as kicker for ailing Conway


ASHBURN, Va. - Washington Redskins coach Steve Spurrier said yesterday that James Tuthill likely will replace Brett Conway as the club's kicker for the Monday night game against the Philadelphia Eagles at FedEx Field.

Conway, who started his fifth season with Washington by kicking a 35-yard field goal in the first quarter of the team's 31-23 home win against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, may be placed on injured reserve after a magnetic resonance imaging revealed that he had torn a quadriceps muscle in his kicking leg, Spurrier said in his weekly news conference at Redskins Park.

"We're ready to go with Tuthill," said Spurrier, who said he did not know whether other kickers would be invited to try out for the position. "We've got a lot of confidence in him. So if we sign him up today, he'll be our guy."

Tuthill, a 6-foot-2, 250-pound second-year player from Cal Poly, kicked a 23-yard field goal against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and was 4-for-4 on extra-point attempts during the preseason before the team released him on the final day of cuts.

Washington waived Tuthill Sept. 1 after Conway passed a series of drills designed to test the health of a hip flexor injury that forced him to miss three preseason games.

Conway said he felt a twinge in the quadriceps after he kicked the field goal Sunday. The pain sapped Conway of his leg strength, and only one of his five kickoffs pinned Arizona returners inside the 10-yard line.

Calling the muscle tear the worst he has ever seen, Conway hinted that the injury may force him to retire from football.

Line comes through

A long-standing area of concern turned out to be a source of stability for the Redskins.

The doubts that surrounded an offensive line that hadn't played together during the five-game preseason were cleared away when the Washington front five allowed the Cardinals to sack the Redskins' Shane Matthews just once Sunday.

Left tackle Chris Samuels had missed three exhibition games with a sore ankle, right guard Brenden Stai was a late arrival and only played in the preseason finale against the New England Patriots after being acquired from the Detroit Lions, and the left guard position was up for grabs between David Loverne and Ross Tucker.

Wakeup call

Washington linebacker Jeremiah Trotter received an early-morning reminder of Monday's matchup against the Eagles.

Trotter, an unrestricted free agent who signed with the Redskins in April after spending his first four seasons with Philadelphia, said Eagles cornerback Troy Vincent called Trotter's home yesterday morning.

"He left me a message and told me he was going to crack my head open," Trotter said with a chuckle. "I left him a message and told him I hope [the coaches] move me to fullback."

All kidding aside, Trotter said he and his teammates are well-aware that a victory Monday would give Washington a two-game lead over Philadelphia - which, despite losing, 27-24, to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, is widely expected to win the NFC East.

"I would love to drop those guys to 0-2," he said. "It's nothing personal. I'm just trying to make plays and help my team win."

Next for Redskins

Opponent:Philadelphia Eagles

Site:FedEx Field, Landover

When:Next Monday, 9 p.m.

TV/Radio:Chs. 2, 7/WJFK (106.7 FM), WNAV (1430 AM)

Line:Eagles by 3

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