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News & Notes: Samuels Expects to Play

Chris Samuels tested his injured knee in practice on Friday, then pronounced himself ready to play in this Sunday's game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

"I plan on playing," Samuels told reporters after practice.

Head coach Joe Gibbs was less committal, saying: "He took some work today. We'll just have to see."

Samuels is listed as probable on the Redskins' injury report. If he is unable to play, Gibbs could play veteran Ray Brown or untested second-year player Jim Molinaro. Samuels sustained the injury during last week's 36-0 loss to the New York Giants.

Samuels said he was eager to play Philadelphia on Sunday night.

"Philly's a good team and they have a lot of star players," he said. "They have been dominating us for a while, so hopefully we can change that."

Meantime, tight end Robert Royal also returned to practice on Friday. He had sat out practice earlier in the week with a calf injury.

Mark Brunell sat out practice on Friday to rest his calf injury. He remains listed as probable and is expected to start on Sunday.

-- GRIFFIN, STOUTMIRE DOWNGRADED

Defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin has been downgraded to doubtful for Sunday's game against the Eagles, but he remains a game time decision. Griffin has missed practice all this week as he recovers from a hip injury.

Linemen Joe Salave'a (heel) and Phillip Daniels (ankle) returned to practice on Friday. Salave'a was upgraded to probable on Friday. Daniels also is probable.

The Redskins have prepared all week for the possibility that one or more of the linemen may not be available on Sunday. Backups Cedric Killings, Ryan Boschetti and Aki Jones have gotten plenty of reps this week and all three could be active on Sunday.

"When you take Cornelius into consideration, those are big shoes to fill," Salave'a said. "This is a great opportunity for the young guys. We have guys here who can pick up the slack and go with it."

Meantime, safety Omar Stoutmire was also downgraded to questionable. Stoutmire sustained a hamstring injury in last week's game against the Giants.

-- TAYLOR BACK AT PRACTICE

After sitting out practice most of the week due to an ankle injury, safety Sean Taylor returned to practice on Friday. He is listed as probable on the injury report.

Despite missing practices earlier this week, Taylor stayed fresh by working on the side, assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams said.

"He took all of the half-speed reps," Williams said. "We have certain drills in practice for the injured guys to get the mental repetitions they need to get, so that when they go in on Friday, they'll be going full speed."

-- NATIONAL TELEVISION

Sunday night's game will be the Redskins' first nationally televised, prime time matchup since the Week 2, come-from-behind win at Dallas. That game was a Monday night contest.

Most players and coaches said they enjoy playing in the national spotlight.

"It's big," Brunell said. "You know that everyone is watching. But once the game starts, you forget that everyone is watching. It turns into another game. It just happens to be at night."

Williams said the waiting is the hardest part of a Sunday night contest.

"You learn over the years that you have to prepare a bit differently," Williams said. "I enjoy being in the atmosphere with the players. The players take it up a notch and that makes it fun. That makes the wait okay."

That victory over the Cowboys ended a four-game losing streak to the Cowboys. A victory over Philadelphia on Sunday night would end a seven-game losing streak to the Eagles.

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