ASHBURN, Va. — While almost all of the focus at Redskins Park this month has been on whether coach Mike Shanahan will return for the fifth and final year of his contract, seven of the nine current players who preceded him in Washington could also be wearing burgundy and gold for the final time during Sunday’s game at the New York Giants.
The list includes four-time Pro Bowl inside linebacker London Fletcher, who said earlier this month that he’s “99 percent” certain that he’ll retire after 16 seasons; receiver Santana Moss, who’s third in franchise history in catches behind only Hall of Famers Art Monk and Charley Taylor; three-time Pro Bowl cornerback DeAngelo Hall; and two-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker Brian Orakpo.
“I don’t like to even talk about it,” said Moss, who arrived in March 2005 in a trade with the New York Jets and has been in Washington longer than any current Redskin although he’s now a backup. “It’s nothing I can control. Every time you get a chance to showcase your ability, that’s your opportunity to go out there and leave the viewers with an everlasting thought of you.”
Moss, who ranks ninth among receivers with 720 catches, will be 35 in June. Unlike the 38-year-old Fletcher, Moss deflected any questions about retirement.
“It’s been a beautiful experience, but I’m not trying to have that conversation right now,” Moss said. “You do that somewhere down the road. All I’m thinking about right now is the Giants.”
Retirement certainly hasn’t crossed Hall’s mind since he just turned 30 last month although this is his 10th NFL season.
Hall, who was cut by the Redskins for salary cap reasons last winter only to re-sign for less money, is a Virginia native and would like to remain in Washington.
“I haven’t even thought about next year,” said Hall, who was signed off waivers from Oakland in November 2008. “It might start to kick in the locker room after the game or on the plane on the way home. I’ll cross that path when I get to it. I’ve had a lot of ups and a lot of downs here, but it’s been a heck of a ride.”
Unlike Hall, Moss and Fletcher, who arrived as a free agent from Buffalo in 2007, Orakpo has yet to test his value in the marketplace. He has 10 sacks in the last year of the contract he signed as the 13th overall selection in the 2009 draft.
“Once the game’s over with, then there will be a kind of realization of what’s at hand,” said Orakpo, who didn’t practice again on Thursday because of the right groin he strained early during the fourth quarter of last Sunday’s 24-23 loss to archrival Dallas in the home finale.
The other unsigned long-time Redskins are strong safety Reed Doughty, former starting tight end Fred Davis, and reserve outside linebacker Rob Jackson, who sealed last year’s NFC East title-clinching victory with a late interception of Dallas quarterback Tony Romo.
If all seven veterans depart, backup defensive end Kedric Golston and center Will Montgomery would be the only remaining players who were with Washington before Shanahan’s hiring in January 2010.
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