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In Vincent, Redskins Add NFC East Veteran

When the Redskins added Troy Vincent on the day after their shocking 25-22 loss to Tennessee at FedExField, they brought in a veteran player who knows the NFC East inside and out.

The 15-year NFL veteran had his best stretch with the Philadelphia Eagles, where he was a Pro Bowl pick for five years running between 1999 and 2003.

Like most NFL observers, Vincent says he's mystified at how a team with the talent level of the Redskins could have began the season 2-4.

"I've seen a lot of tape, whether it was preseason or regular season," he said. "I'm familiar with what's going on and obviously no one thought the Redskins would be 2-4 at this particular time in the season--but that's football."

The Redskins like his veteran presence in their secondary and believe he still has the requisite skills.

Vincent played with the Buffalo Bills last season and was coached by Redskins secondary-cornerbacks coach Jerry Gray, who was the Bills' defensive coordinator in 2005.

An eloquent spokesman, Vincent came to the Redskins after being placed on injured reserve and then being released by the Bills.

"It's the best situation for my family and for me, logistically," he said. "We're trying to get back a little closer to home. I'm kind of familiar with the system. I feel like they have a chance to win and compete and potentially get into post-season play."

A native of Trenton, N.J., Vincent played his college ball at Wisconsin. He was the seventh overall pick in the 1992 NFL Draft by Miami and played four seasons in South Florida. He was a staple in the Eagles' secondary for eight years before moving off to Buffalo in 2004.

On how much of an influence Gray was in his decision to join the Redskins, Vincent said: "Obviously we spent two years together in Buffalo. This is a proud organization, with a lot of tradition. I believe they have a lot of talent defensively. I'm not the answer, but I do believe I can bring a lot of value."

Vincent spent the 2006 preseason with Buffalo, but suffered a hamstring injury in Week 1. The Bills opted to place him on injured reserve.

He was solid last year for the Bills, logging a career-high 102 tackles and four interceptions in 16 starts.

With 47 career interceptions, Vincent, a 6-3, 200-pounder, ranked first among active players in that category heading into the 2006 season. He has started 199 games in his NFL career.

Vincent has played cornerback most of his career, but in Buffalo he made the transition to free safety.

Asked about his place in the Redskins' defense, Vincent noted: "I'm a defensive back, which means wherever I'm needed I'll play. I was actually playing the corner in Buffalo. I was the starting nickel and free safety all during training camp.

"Right now I'm going to concentrate on the safety position and just depending on if they need help at the cornerback position, I can just slide down there.

Regarding the Week 7 game versus Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts at the RCA Dome, Vincent said he wasn't sure yet if he'd even be in the game plan.

"I've been doing everything but suiting up on Sundays," Vincent said. "In Buffalo, I was still working out. I'm excited. I had been trying to get out of Buffalo for a few weeks now and finally they granted me my wish. I'm just ready to get back on the football field."

But Vincent says it's time to start a new chapter of his career with the Redskins.

Injuries to Shawn Springs and Pierson Prioleau early this year meant that the Redskins were missing two of their veteran leaders in the defensive secondary.

Given his 15 years in the league and his first-hand knowledge of the NFC East, Troy Vincent can help fill that void about as well as anybody.

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