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Springs Belongs In Pro Bowl Conversation

No Redskins player was more disappointed and frustrated following last week's 23-17 overtime loss to San Diego than Shawn Springs.

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The veteran cornerback came up with a key interception of a Drew Brees pass with 1:12 left in regulation. That pass, intended for Chargers rookie wide receiver Vincent Jackson, was batted by Redskins linebacker Marcus Washington before caroming in the direction of Springs.

Still, Washington squandered the late opportunity and fell to 5-6 on the season.

After the game, Springs was asked if he felt the Redskins could turn things around and make a late-season push. First things first, he said.

"I'm just trying to persuade my teammates to focus on winning our next game," Springs declared. "We need to win one game. That should be our only focus."

The interception versus Brees was the first of 2005 for Springs, who has yet to come up with a sack.

Even though his numbers are significantly down from last year, his first in Washington, Springs has been playing at a high level each week and should be among those Redskins given Pro Bowl consideration.

Online fan voting for the Pro Bowl continues through Tuesday, Dec. 13.

In his seven seasons in Seattle, Springs made the Pro Bowl once, in 1998, when he produced a career-high seven interceptions.

Last year, Springs became the first NFL defensive back to lead his team in both sacks (six) and interceptions (five) in the same year. It's possible that his Pro Bowl snub of 2004 will have a carryover effect and actually work in his favor this year.

Springs missed one game this season, the 28-21 at Kansas City, due to a leg injury suffered at Denver. Through 10 games, he's produced 30 tackles.

But his real value to the Redskins' defense is that he's often called upon to take the opponent's top wide receiver out of the game. More often than not, Springs has been up to the challenge.

On Week 13 at St. Louis, Springs and the Redskins' defense will be working on a fast track indoors at the Edwards Jones Dome. The Rams can depend on three dangerous wide receivers in Torry Holt, Isaac Bruce and Kevin Curtis.

Like Washington, St. Louis sits at 5-6 but still entertains playoff hopes. Last week, the Rams rallied for a 33-27 win at Houston.

In team history, the best season for the Redskins in terms of sending players to the Pro Bowl was 1991, with eight representatives. They were running back Earnest Byner; wide receiver Gary Clark; cornerback Darrell Green; offensive tackle Jim Lachey; kicker Chip Lohmiller; defensive end Charles Mann; quarterback Mark Rypien; and guard Mark Schlereth.

Linebacker Chris Hanburger has the team's all-time record for the most Pro Bowl appearances. Hanburger, a Redskin between 1965 and 1978, played in nine Pro Bowls.

As for 2005, Springs seems to have found a renewed enthusiasm for the game and coming to the Redskins has emboldened him to have his best season ever. What are his personal goals?

"I put up personal goals, meaning I do want to play better than I played the year before," he said. "But stat-wise, I don't really talk about it because usually when I'm playing my best, my stats are lower. In the past when I had my best years, I didn't have good stats because I didn't get as many balls. More so for me, I just want to see the team win. If the team wins, I'm happy."

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