|Surrounded by rookies, Blaylock auditions with Redskins camp|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 06 May 2007 12:08|
ASHBURN, Va. (AP) -Derrick Blaylock is a six-year veteran running back who has enjoyed a few highlights in an otherwise ordinary NFL career.|
So what was he doing on the field this weekend with scores of tryout players at the Washington Redskins rookie camp?
``I'm not a prideful guy,'' Blaylock said Sunday. ``I'm not above this. I don't feel like I'm above anybody. I just come out here and work and hopefully I'll make the team. I'm going to keep fighting, that's the thing. You've got to fight. You can't give up.''
NFL teams regularly invite out-of-work veterans for auditions, but the Redskins asked Blaylock to join them for a three-day camp in which nearly everyone on the field was a wide-eyed rookie experiencing a first taste of professional football. At age 27, Blaylock was easily the oldest player in uniform.
``Still young,'' said Blaylock, who then had to laugh as he looked at the other players walking past. ``Not as young as some of these guys, but still young.''
A fifth-round pick from Stephen F. Austin in 2001, Blaylock played four years with the Kansas City Chiefs and two with the New York Jets before he was released at the end of last season. His best year was 2004, when he had 539 yards rushing, 246 yards receiving and scored nine touchdowns for the Chiefs.
Blaylock made virtually no impact with the Jets. He was injured for most of 2005 and ran for 44 yards on 25 carries last season.
Now he's essentially fighting to stay in the NFL, and the Redskins were the first team to offer him a tryout in 2007. Assistant coach Al Saunders was Blaylock's offensive coordinator in Kansas City.
``I'm familiar with the offense,'' Blaylock said. ``You've got to make a statement. You've got to make it hard for them to release you.''
It hardly seemed fair that Blaylock was the only player at the camp with a good working knowledge of Saunders' complex offensive schemes, but he impressed the coaches enough that the Redskins appeared ready to sign him and have him return for the spring practices and probably training camp.
``If you go to Germany and can speak German, you can communicate a little bit better,'' Saunders said. ``This is a nice opportunity for him to come into an offense that he's familiar with. Hopefully he'll sign with us and have an opportunity to show us what he can do.''
Should Blaylock make the team, he'd join a crowded backfield that already includes Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts. At this point in his career, though, he can't be picky about his opportunities.
``It's the way I feel about the game,'' Blaylock said. ``To me, it's not really about the money. I love the game; I love playing the game, and right now I'm not ready to be finished playing the game, so that's what drives me to continue to push forward. I want to be able to stop playing when I say it's time for me to stop playing.''
Notes: The most newsworthy moment of camp came when assistant coach Gregg Williams announced that his safeties will no longer be interchangeable. He'll have a free safety (Sean Taylor) and a strong safety (first-round draft pick LaRon Landry). Also, despite coach Joe Gibbs' assertion that it would be hard for any player in the NFL draft to immediately crack the starting lineup, Williams indicated that Landry was on the fast track. ``It won't take long for LaRon to work his way in the lineup from what I have seen,'' Williams said. ... Best line of the weekend came when Williams was talking about sixth-round draft pick H.B. Blades, who is only 5-foot-11 but an inch taller than projected starter London Fletcher. ``We wanted to make sure London wasn't the only one in the meeting room who needed a booster chair,'' Williams said.
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