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News & Notes: Players Address 'Age Thing'

Is the Redskins' defense one for the ages?

The defensive line includes 35-year-old Phillip Daniels and 31-year-old Cornelius Griffin as starters.

The linebackers include 32-year-old London Fletcher and 30-year Marcus Washington.

And the secondary includes 33-year-old Shawn Springs.

For a unit that finished last season eighth overall and third in the NFC in total defense, there is much hand-wringing about the overall age of the Redskins' defenders.

It was prompted by the team's decision to select offensive players with their first four picks in the April 26-27 NFL Draft.

During the club's May mini-camp, Daniels said his age wasn't as important as how well he takes care of his body.

"Everybody always asks about the age thing," he said, laughing. "I always tell them, 'I'm a 35-year-old in a 28-year-old body.' That's what I am. I'm amazed at how strong I am at this age. I think I take care of myself. I eat right. I keep my body in good condition."

Added Fletcher: "I think as long as you do what you're supposed to do on the field, it doesn't really matter how old you are. When you get older, you know how to take care of your body better and you understand how opponents are going to attack you."

In years past, Daniels said he has missed off-season workouts and OTAs as he recuperates from surgery.

Not this year, though.

"This year, I won't be playing catch-up," Daniels said. "I'll be right there in shape with the rest of the guys. I'll be ready to go when the season starts and I'll prove the critics wrong."

Defensive coordinator Greg Blache admitted that the team would like to add some youth to the foundation, but not at the expense of his cast of veterans.

"We have some very talented people here, regardless of their age," Blache said. "I think they compete at a high level. I think they are capable of winning in this league. I think they proved it last season.

"Yeah, we'd like to get some younger players and we do have some younger players that we are going to try to infuse into the program."

Among the young players Blache was referring to were defensive tackles Anthony Montgomery and Kedric Golston, both third-year players, and defensive end Chris Wilson, a second-year player.

Linebacker Rocky McIntosh and safeties LaRon Landry and Reed Doughty are young starters as well.


#### -- REDSKINS ADD TATE

The Redskins have signed undrafted rookie free agent defensive back Stephen Tate, the team announced on Monday.

Tate, 5-11 and 184 pounds, comes from Hofstra University, where he played both safety and cornerback.

A 4-year letterman, Tate played in 42 games, with 12 starts, and posted 123 tackles (66 solo) and two interceptions.

Tate participated in the Redskins' mini-camp on May 2-4, impressing coaches with an interception during one series of plays.

He is a local product, having prepped at Centreville High School in Clifton, Va.


#### -- LEGGETT PASSES AWAY

Former Redskins assistant coach Earl Leggett passed away last week. Leggett served as the Redskins' defensive line coach from 1997-99.

Leggett is most remembered as the defensive line coach with the Oakland Raiders from 1979-88 and 1991-92. His credentials included two Super Bowl championships with the Raiders and the development of Hall of Famer Howie Long.

Leggett played 12 years in the NFL after being a first-round pick of the Chicago Bears in 1957 out of LSU. He also played for the Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans Saints.

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