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Hicks Returning to Philly, Too

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Quarterback Donovan McNabb isn't the only new Redskin with fond memories of the City of Brotherly Love.

Right guard Artis Hicks, 31, previously played in Philadelphia and Minnesota before joining the Redskins as an unrestricted free agent in March, a month before McNabb was traded from the Eagles.

Like McNabb, Hicks returns to Philadelphia this Sunday to play the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field for the first time.

The Eagles signed Hicks, 6-4 and 318 pounds, in 2002 as an undrafted rookie free agent.

In 2006, they traded him to the Vikings, where he protected the aging Brett Favre from would-be sackers last year.

Asked to compare McNabb and Favre, Hicks said: "They both are commanding figures in that huddle, they both demand a lot out of you and they both demand perfection."

Hicks is an especially versatile player. He entered the league as a left tackle, but learned to play left guard, right guard, and right tackle to enhance his appeal.

It has paid off. He has started all three games for the Redskins this year.

It hasn't always been that way. Hicks backed up more experienced players his first two years in the league, eventually earning the right to start in Philly before again becoming a backup to other, younger players.

"Anytime you've been on the field and you get a taste of it, that's where you want to be. After you've tasted that life, you don't want to go back to anything else," he said.

His teammates are glad he has got their back this season.

"He has a great feeling for a lot of the things that I do in the pocket. He's done a great job so far, and we're going to continue to grow together," McNabb said.

"He brings a nasty streak to the game. I'm glad he's finally a teammate of ours," said center Casey Rabach.

Hicks has also quickly grown fond of head coach Mike Shanahan and his son, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, 30.

"The biggest thing people don't know about Coach Shanahan, outside of the locker room, is that he has a great personality, a great sense of humor," Hicks said. "And Kyle -- sometimes it's hard to believe that I'm older than my offensive coordinator. But Kyle brings that new, refreshing attitude to the offense. And that was well-needed, especially after last year here."

But for Hicks, who grew up with six sisters, his teammates may be the most important people of all.

"I always wanted a brother growing up," Hicks said. "Football definitely gave me that aspect that I was missing all of childhood. The guys that I go to work with and go out there and bleed and sweat with, those are my brothers."

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