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This Westbrook Is Taking a Different Path

Young cornerback Byron Westbrook had already caught the eye of Redskins coaches during the May 4-6 Rookie Camp.

Then, in the waning moments of the final Rookie Camp practice, Westbrook stepped in front of a receiver for an interception.

Was his weekend of hard work enough to earn a free agent contract?

Westbrook, younger brother of Philadelphia Eagles running back Brian Westbrook, will find out soon.

The Redskins are expected to finalize their off-season roster in the coming weeks, and Westbrook is a candidate for depth at the cornerback position. He was among about 75 undrafted rookies on hand as a Rookie Camp tryout.

Westbrook, 5-10 and 195 pounds, hails from Salisbury University, a Division III college in Maryland. He compiled 18 interceptions in his career at Salisbury and also returned punts and kickoffs.

His biggest challenge could be overcoming the stigma that comes with playing at a Division III school.

Westbrook, who grew up in Washington, D.C., has no regrets.

He has drawn support from his brother Brian, who found NFL success despite attending Division II college Villanova. Brian was a third-round draft pick by the Eagles in 2002.

"[Brian] has told me to just do my thing out here [at Rookie Camp]," Byron Westbrook said. "A lot of people doubt me right now because I come from a Division III school, but I have the ability to play with these guys. He has given me a lot of confidence and support."

Assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams sees toughness and versatility in the younger Westbrook.

"He has caught our eye and has done very well," Williams said. "He has game instinct. Hopefully, he can play inside on the nickel or the safety position because he has a good frame."

Williams told Westbrook, half-jokingly, that his biggest concern was that the Redskins' defensive playbook would end up in the hands of his brother in Philadelphia.

"Those were the first words out of my mouth when I first met him, and he had this big old grin on his face," Williams said, smiling himself.

Williams has nothing to worry about.

During Rookie Camp, Westbrook was asked if there was any downside to being Brian's brother.

"The only negative thing is that people expect me to fill his shoes," Westbrook said. "But I'm not a running back, I'm a cornerback. I play on a defense. I'm trying to hit him."

He added with a smile: "And if I'm on the Redskins, I'd have the chance to get back at him two times a year for the 22 years he's been punishing me since I was a baby."

If Westbrook earns an off-season roster spot, he would be one of four players on the Redskins with brothers on other NFL teams.

Santana Moss's brother Sinorice plays for the New York Giants, LaRon Landry's brother Dawan plays for the Baltimore Ravens, and Jordan Palmer's brother Carson is with the Cincinnati Bengals.

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