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Ex-NFL player Vernon Turner back on familiar ground

Published: Thursday, May 12, 2011, 7:45 AM

Vernon Turner, who played for four NFL teams, will be signing copies of his autobiography on Staten Island Friday and Saturday.

Vernon Turner once made a living staring down ferocious defenders while returning punts in the National Football League.

That rough-and-tumble lifestyle might seem like child's play now that the 1989 Advance Sportsman of the Year finds himself living out of a suitcase while promoting his self-published autobiography.

"I've always tried to fly under the radar and avoid the limelight because I'm basically a private person," said the 44-year-old Turner, now a supervisor with an oil refining company in Texas. "For me to do a project of this magnitude and expose my life and my family's life like I did, I'm totally out of my comfort zone."

The ex-Curtis High School star will be at Jody's Pub on Forest Avenue Friday night from 5-9 for a book signing of "The Next Level: A Game I Had To Play." On Saturday, he's scheduled for another book signing session on the Curtis football field in conjunction with the school's "Spring Fling" celebration from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

It'll be a whirlwind homecoming of sorts for the former NFL player who moved to Sunnyside as a young child and went from Curtis to Carson-Newman (Tenn.) College to a productive career as a wide receiver-kick returner-running back with the Buffalo Bills, Los Angeles Rams, Detroit Lions and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

In his book, Turner reveals many startling personal details, starting with an affectionate look at his mother, Jackie, who was a drug addict and prostitute. The Brooklyn-born Turner moved to Sunnyside and eventually helped raise four younger siblings following the deaths of his mother and step-father.

"I guess I killed a few birds with one stone in doing this project, which was therapeutic for me in getting all that stuff out that I had buried for 30 years," said Turner. "I know there are a lot of people out there at the crossroads in similar situations, and maybe I can help them out.

"I'm not a writer but for what I went through and my family went through and the message the book carries, I think it can be a bestseller. I put my heart out there ... and put my ego aside. I told my story and hopefully something good will come out of it."


Turner credits an old friend, Rachelle Clinton, for "getting the ball rolling" on the project. Clinton had run track at Notre Dame Academy at the same time Turner was competing at Curtis, and they re-connected through Facebook. He sought her creative advice in the early stages.

"She was a huge part of the project," said Turner. "I woke up one day and sat on the edge of my bed and told myself, 'I'm going to write this book.'¤"

In a TV news feature nearly two decades ago when he played for the Buccaneers, Turner told a Tampa reporter that he would sit down one day and "write my life story and it's going to be a best-seller."

Said Turner now: "It brings chills to my spine every time I look at that interview because I finally built the courage to write the book and now it's just a matter of getting the word out."

Turner also has been selected as the keynote speaker at Curtis' graduation ceremonies on June 24. He said he hopes to deliver a message of hope to the graduates, explaining to them his determined journey as an undersized freshman running back all the way to the NFL and then to a successful business career.

"If I made it through all that," said Turner, "anybody can make it. It's just a matter of where their hearts are at."

Turner said writing and publishing his autobiography hasn't been easy. He said he has a deeper appreciation for writers and the entire process.

"I made it to the NFL the long way ... undrafted, no combines, no bowl games. I went the long way and I came out the other side," he said. "I'm doing this project the same way. I don't know any other way than the long way."

Turner said the idea of a movie on his life has been kicked around by his long-time agent, Howard Shatsky. There's already a dramatic real-life conclusion: Turner capped his improbable career by returning a punt 80 yards for a touchdown -- the first regular-season punt return for a TD in Tampa Bay history.

"My life story needs no embellishment whatsoever," said Turner with a laugh. "It's great to be home again. I'm excited and nervous all rolled up into one.


Inside Free Agency and the NFL Draft
By Tony Agnone and Howard Shatsky

If you asked most NFL players who John Mackey is, they probably wouldn’t know. However, every current NFL player owes this Hall of Fame tight-end a debt of gratitude for the large salaries they are now able to make. In 1973, Mackey filed a lawsuit and became the first player to challenge the NFL's restrictions on player movement. Mackey won his lawsuit, but it would still be many years before the NFLPA achieved true free agency for its members. Numerous court battles and more than 30 years later, today’s NFL landscape is dramatically different.

In an attempt to avoid antitrust violations, the NFL unilaterally implemented what became know as Plan B in 1989. Under that system of free agency, a team could restrict 37 players, and the remainder of the roster would be declared free agents. Today, as you read about NFL players receiving $10-$20 million dollar signing bonuses, remember that less than 20 years ago, under Plan B, a player was considered to have won the lottery if he obtained a signing bonus of $100,000.

In 1993, after several more court cases, NFL players finally negotiated the right for true free agency. One of the first big free agency deals was negotiated by our firm, Eastern Athletic Services, on behalf of QB Scott Mitchell. Mitchell-- who at that point had a mere 8 NFL starts-- received an $8 million dollar signing bonus to move from the Dolphins to the Lions. At that time, Eastern Athletic Services was located in the same Timonium building in which Hall of Fame QB and Baltimore legend Johnny Unitas had his office. Soon after the deal was done I was in the elevator and heard Johnny comment that Mitchell’s signing bonus was more than he had earned in his entire NFL career. I asked him what they would have had to pay him in the current market. Johnny laughed, hesitated and finally said, "If Mitchell got $8 million, they would have had to give me part ownership in the team!"

NFL salaries have increased tremendously since 1993, changing the way the League operates. NFL teams now employ salary cap experts and professional negotiators to do battle with players’ agents. Most big free agent deals are completed during the first two weeks of free agency, and any need that is not filled through free agency must than be addressed in the NFL Draft.

Preparing for the draft is a long and arduous process for everyone involved. Agents begin recruiting players for the draft during the summer before their last college season. Agents can visit with college players, but may not give them anything of value; a college player cannot sign with an agent until he has exhausted his college eligibility. After signing a player, agents begin to communicate with NFL teams in an effort to increase their clients' draft status. 

After college, players turn their attention to training for the NFL Combine, which takes place every February. Most players fly off to locations where their agents have arranged for them to have workouts supervised by personal trainers. This has spawned a whole new industry, with some trainers charging more than $1,000 per week to prepare a player for the Combine. Many of the top players do not work out at the Combine, preferring to hold private workouts at their schools where they can have more control.

The Combine is attended by nearly every agent and member of the NFL. The NFL teams are there to interview college prospects and watch the players go through their workouts. Whenever you put that many agents and NFL personnel people together, rumors abound: gossip about player recruiting, free agency interest in players, and client-stealing by agents is legendary at the Combine.

After the Combine, the next phase for players is individual workouts at their various schools. NFL teams travel to these workouts hoping to gain even more information about players they may be thinking of selecting in the upcoming Draft. Many teams fly top prospects to their facilities for a second interview, to get a better understanding of the player , not only as an athlete but as a person. Finally when this is all over, it’s time for April’s NFL Draft.

The Draft is an extremely nerve-wracking process for prospective NFL players. Four or five years of hard work, preparation for the Combine, interviews, all come down to these two days when a player finally learns what round he is drafted in and by what team. A player's draft status can be influenced by many things: NFL Free Agency, the player's on-field performance, Combine workout, personal interviews, and any personal issues the player may have. It is almost impossible to predict what will happen on Draft day; the Draft remains an inexact science.

Some players will be very disappointed following the Draft if they are not selected. However, not being taken in the Draft doesn’t mean a player will not play in the NFL. At the conclusion of the Draft, agents hit the phones in an effort to contact teams about players who were not chosen. This is done immediately, as any player not signed within 48 hours of the Draft probably will not go to an NFL training camp. Every year there are many un-drafted players that end up in the NFL.

The NFL Draft is like Christmas for teams and agents:. Will they find that shiny new toy in their stocking or, like Charlie Brown, will they find only a lump of coal? This is the time when agents find out whether months of recruiting have paid off. So, for both agents and players the Draft is both an exciting and nerve-wracking process. Let the madness begin!

Tony Agnone is the founder of Eastern Athletic Services and has represented professional athletes and broadcasters since 1978. Tony is also an Adjunct Professor of Sports Law at the University of Baltimore Law School. Howard Shatsky has been with Eastern Athletic Services since 1989 and is also an Adjunct Professor of Sports Law at the Washington College of Law and. Eastern Athletic Services has negotiated some of the NFL's most lucrative deals and is one of the most respected representation firms in professional football.

Issue 1.1: April 27, 2006


Bengals find replacement for Goff
Former Eagle Williams agrees to three-year pact 

By Mark Curnutte

The Cincinnati Enquirer

The Bengals today agreed to terms on a three-year contract with former Eagles guard Bobbie Williams, agent Howard Shatsky's office confirmed. Williams, 27, is expected to replace departed free agent Mike Goff as the Bengals' starter at right guard.

Williams is 6-3, 320 pounds. He was a second-round pick from Arkansas in 2000 and started the last nine games of 2003 for the Eagles at right guard because of an injury to starter Jermane Mayberry. Williams chose the Bengals ahead of Buffalo, where he visited Wednesday and Thursday. Miami also had expressed interest.

Methodically, the Bengals are piecing together likely starters in free agency. On Thursday, the Bengals announced the re-signing of strong safety Rogers Beckett.

Williams will likely play alongside center Rich Braham, another player the Bengals re-signed this month. Kicker Shayne Graham will return after the Bengals matched an offer sheet he signed as a restricted free agent with Jacksonville.

Williams is the fourth free agent signed by the Bengals who was with another team last year. He also is the third newcomer who will probably start, along with middle linebacker Nate Webster and free safety Kim Herring.

Wide receiver Patrick Johnson, signed as an unrestricted free agent from Washington, will return kickoffs and probably play as a fourth wide receiver.


Saturday, February 14, 1998 

Bengals sign Bankston to offer sheet Club also bids for Greene, Bills DB


The Cincinnati Enquirer

The Bengals dug in on defense during the first day of free agency Friday, signing Arizona Cardinals defensive end Michael Bankston to an offer sheet and increasing their offer to outside linebacker Kevin Greene.

They also surprised Buffalo Bills cornerback Jeff Burris with a competitive offer that had the converted safety considering Cincinnati late into Friday night.

With the Bengals about to lose left end John Copeland, the team reportedly offered Bankston $6 million for three years with a $1.5 million signing bonus. The Cardinals have seven days to match.

The 6-foot-4, 287-pound Bankston, who turns 28 next month, started all 16 games in 1997 and had two sacks, five quarterback hurries and five tackles for loss. His 114 tackles (66 solos, 48 assists) were more than what Copeland (35 solos, 14 assists) and right end Dan Wilkinson (24 solos, 10 assists) combined to produce for the Bengals.

It was the first time in five years of unfettered free agency the Bengals signed a player on the first day, and they tried to make it two.

Peter Schaffer, Burris' agent, denied league sources saying the Bengals offered a five-year, $15 million deal.

''But I was very impressed with how strongly and aggressively the Bengals came out of the box,'' Schaffer said.

''If this was two years ago, I would have been floored because they're usually so reactive. Not today. I told Jeff to consider how strongly they came after him. And the grass in the new stadium helps, even though it's two years off.''

Plenty of other grass teams are pursuing Burris, such as San Francisco, Tampa Bay and Jacksonville. Minnesota plays in a dome, but won a playoff game. Plus, the Bills want to keep Burris, 25, a solid, unspectacular cover man with four interceptions in four seasons.

The Bengals covet Greene and his 133 career sacks because he would bring the same aggressive leadership to the defense Boomer Esiason brought to the offense last season, and he played in defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau's 3-4 scheme in Pittsburgh.

''A deal isn't going to get done over the weekend, but a visit to Cincinnati could certainly be talked about early next week,'' said Leigh Steinberg, Greene's agent. ''Kevin has no problems with the franchise or playing in Cincinnati. We've had talks for two days now, so let's see where it goes.''

Cincinnati made no bones about seeking a right cornerback to pair with Ashley Ambrose, the 1996 Pro Bowl selection.

The Bengals reportedly also talked to the agents for cornerbacks Doug Evans of Green Bay, Baltimore's Antonio Langham and Minnesota's DeWayne Washington.

The Bengals are in the range for Evans and Langham, which is probably at least $3 million per year. Evans, who plans to visit Minnesota next week, got turned down by the Packers in his bid to re-up for five years at $2.5 million a year with $4.5 million up front.

Cincinnati also contacted representatives for Green Bay defensive end Gabe Wilkins, but a source close to Wilkins termed the Bengals' interest ''irrelevant.''

''Right now our focus is on defense, but that could change,'' said Bengals coach Bruce Coslet. ''I thought we had a good day. We talked to 15, 16 (agents) and I spoke to four or five players. We heard positive things.''

But that's all Coslet would allow in a ''Brown-out'' directed at the media during the first days of free agency. Bengals President and General Manager Mike Brown has instructed personnel not to discuss free agency. At least one Bengal negotiator asked an agent not to talk.

For instance, the agent for Taylor High product Dana Stubblefield, the San Francisco defensive tackle who was named the 1997 NFL defensive player of the year, would not confirm that the Bengals called him Friday.

But Bengal coaches were talking defense. LeBeau plans to speak to two of his former Steelers, Greene and cornerback Rod Woodson. LeBeau thinks both can still play and would start Greene even though he would turn 36 during training camp.

The Bengals passed on Steelers left tackle John Jackson, a Woodward product who would have loved to have stayed home in Symmes Township and play for his hometown team.

After the Vikings made Todd Steussie the highest-paid offensive lineman in NFL history with a $22 million, five-year contract and New England's Bruce Armstrong re-signed, Jackson, 32, became free agency's most sought-after tackle.

''We'd love to have John Jackson, but we have to prioritize,'' Coslet said.

Richard Katz, Jackson's Cincinnati-based agent, worked late into Friday setting up recruiting visits for his client to take next week. The Steelers also called with an offer, but Katz contacted the Bengals early in the day to let the club know Jackson wanted to give the Bengals a shot.

At least one Bengal who is an unrestricted free agent earned a recruiting visit. Lions defensive coordinator Larry Peccatiello, who coached Ricardo McDonald for three seasons in Cincinnati, invited the inside linebacker to Detroit next Tuesday.

Agent Howard Shatsky, who represents linebacker Andre Collins, said the Bengals called to express interest in keeping his client. Shatsky added that Collins received inquiries from several other teams.

Restricted free agent Sam Shade had no offers Friday.

''He's the No. 1 restricted free agent, according to most teams I talk to,'' said agent Mason Ashe. ''I haven't heard anything from Cincinnati, but I'm not surprised. I can't predict what Cincinnati's going to do.''


Out-of-control agents? Show them the door

July 15, 1997
By Ken Rosenthal

Art Modell sat in his golf cart in the morning heat, watching the Ravens' first practice, longing for a simpler age.

You know, once upon a time, when top draft picks actually showed up for the start of an NFL training camp, and agents weren't running sports.

Let's get this out in the open, OK?

The agents are out of control.

From David Falk to Scott Boras to Eugene Parker, fans are sick and tired of them.

So is Modell, who yesterday accused the agents for the Ravens' top three draft picks of orchestrating a combined holdout.

"I wish I had the money they paid for their phone bills in talking to each other," Modell said. "I could use that money to pay for their players' salaries."

Informed of Modell's comments, the agents for second-round picks Jamie Sharper and Kim Herring denied they were sharing information.

To which Modell replied, "They're not only talking to each other, they're calling collect.

"They're trying to exert pressure on us," the owner said. "It's not going to work.

"You know who's getting hurt? The players -- not the agent sitting back smoking a cigar. I've seen careers destroyed by unnecessary holdouts."

And now, he's facing three more.

Ozzie Newsome, the Ravens' vice president of player personnel, said that the talks are progressing, and that he expects the players to be in camp within seven to 10 days.

The agents for Sharper and Herring, however, said they haven't spoken with the Ravens since Friday. The agent for first-round pick Peter Boulware was unavailable to comment.

The Ravens need to get moving.

And the agents need to stop playing games.

Why are only two first-round picks in the NFL under contract? It's not as if the market is such a mystery. The league dictates how much each team can spend on rookies.

Boulware, Sharper and Herring will sign, probably sooner than later. And whether they miss one week or two, the Ravens still will probably finish 6-10.

That isn't the point.

The point is, the three rookies should be in camp, and probably would be, if their agents didn't need to justify their existence.

Are they in cahoots?

"That's not true at all," said Howard Shatsky, who represents Sharper along with Tony Agnone. "We don't talk to other agents during our contract negotiations.

"To be honest, we're competing for the same money. There's a rookie salary cap. The last thing we want to do is be on the phone with other agents, talking about what we want to do."

Said Jeff Nalley, the agent for Herring: "I have never spoken to Tony Agnone. I've never spoken to Eugene Parker. And I've never e-mailed 'em. You might ask Art how I'm conspiring with them when I've never spoken to them in my life."

Nalley said the players exchange information, not the agents.

"People underestimate that," Nalley said. "In talking to Kim, I've found out all kinds of information about other players and their contract negotiations. The players all talk in the locker room. These are smart guys.

"I learn a lot from my players every day. They tell me stuff I would never find out otherwise. If Art wants to blame somebody, he should blame the players for being educated and talking to each other."

Don't count on it -- Modell contends that the rookie salary structure is so rigid, draft picks need agents only to negotiate endorsements, not their NFL contracts.

Art wishes.

Then, maybe he wouldn't have given Jonathan Ogden the voidable clause that has become such a hang-up in his negotiations with Boulware.

The agents seek the best possible deals for their clients. The players need them for protection -- and for the occasional fleecing of an owner like Modell.

The obnoxious holdouts?

The voidable clauses that result in early free agency?

The growing disenchantment with professional sports?

The agents are so busy trying to be Arliss, they could not care less.

Ask Ravens coach Ted Marchibroda, whose son, Ted Jr., is an agent.

"If I'm not mistaken, he held out Roosevelt Potts on me one year in Indianapolis," Marchibroda said.

Can you imagine?

Held out on dear old dad!

Parker, Boulware's agent, is up to his own tricks. According to Modell, Parker informed another NFL team that Boulware was getting the same contract as Ogden, trying to sweeten the deal for another of his clients. The team called Modell seeking confirmation, and the Ravens' owner said it wasn't true.

Ogden can void the remainder of his seven-year contract after four years. The agents for the top picks want similar clauses -- and each apparently is terrified that his client might be the only one shut out.

Hence, the delays.

Hence, the holdouts.

"It's 'You ask for this, we'll ask for that, you demand this, we'll demand that, we'll hold our kids out, they'll cave,' " Modell said. "We're not caving. We want to be fair. We want to be generous. But there is a format."

Poor Art.

He remembers trading for Dick Modzelewski in 1964, and the big defensive tackle crying in his office, so upset was he to leave the New York Giants.

The owner consoled the Maryland alum by telling him that when the Browns traded for a player, it was team policy to offer him a new contract.

Modzelewski was so touched, he asked if Modell had a contract form available.

"Sure," Modell said.

"You fill in the amount," Modzelewski said.

Oh, the owners loved it back then, when players ranked just slightly above indentured servants, and agents never got in the way.

Well, times changed.

And, as so often happens when the power shifts in a one-sided relationship, the pendulum swung too far the other way.

Pub Date: 7/15/97


PRO FOOTBALL; Hampton's Financial Gain Could Be Riesenberg's Loss


Published: March 01, 1996

The Giants were still waiting late yesterday for an official offer sheet from the San Francisco 49ers for running back Rodney Hampton. That offer, expected to be about $16.5 million over six years with a signing bonus of between $3.5 million and $4 million, should come within 24 hours.

And make no mistake about it: The Giants will match the offer.

But the Giants have their hands full with more than Hampton. They are contemplating making major changes on the offensive line. Yesterday they brought in Ron Stone, a Dallas Cowboys backup lineman, for a close look, according to Stone's agent, Brad Blank.

"They say they are very, very interested but we haven't talked money yet," said Blank.

Stone, a fourth-round pick out of Boston College and a restricted free agent, is 6 feet 5 inches, 309 pounds. He can play either guard or tackle, and the Giants are considering playing him at right tackle where he backed up Erik Williams. Right tackle is where Doug Riesenberg has started the last six seasons.

It's possible that the 49ers' interest in Hampton may coincide with the team's sudden interest in Stone -- the Giants contacted Blank only two days ago, which is right around the time San Francisco publicly expressed interest in Hampton. If the Giants need more money to keep Hampton, it's possible they may again ask Riesenberg to take a pay cut, as they did last year.

Riesenberg is one of the Giants' most dependable linemen, missing only one game the last six years because of injury. He is scheduled to make $2.15 million next season and $2.12 million the following year. That and the fact that he is 30 years old -- plus the Giants have tackle Scott Gragg -- makes him a salary-cap target. If Riesenberg does not take a pay cut, the Giants could possibly release him then use the money for Hampton, Stone and other players.

Stone, who may also visit the Washington Redskins, could come relatively cheap for the Giants. If they signed him to an offer sheet and the Cowboys did not match, then it would only cost the Giants a fourth-round draft pick in addition to whatever contract the Giants sign him to. Because of their salary-cap problems, it would be difficult for Dallas to match a substantial offer.


DAVE BROWN and the Giants are "not close yet," but the discussions will continue, said Brown's agent, LEIGH STEINBERG. The Giants made a new offer to Brown on Thursday. . . . Giants defensive end MICHAEL STRAHAN, a restricted free agent, has new representatives. Strahan picked TONY AGNONE and HOWARD SHATSKY of Eastern Athletic Services.


Extended `Precamp` Cuts Into Veterans` Vacations

June 01, 1991

MIAMI -- The Dolphins open an eight-day ``precamp`` this morning at their St. Thomas University training facility and the extended camp has left many players unhappy.

``We`ve had a few veterans complain,`` said Dolphins pro personnel director Charley Winner. ``But it`s the same way all over the league. Everyone is having extended minicamps.``

Players are griping because this is prime vacation time. The three-day minicamp of early May is out of the way and there usually is another three-day camp in early June. Then, it`s pack up the family and get out of town for a month.

This camp, however, is going on until June 8, a result of a new accord with the NCAA that keeps rookies from suiting up until after graduation, with the exception of one three-day minicamp right after the draft.

Because NFL clubs have not been able to bring rookies into camp the last month, many have decided to hold longer June minicamps to make up for the lost time.

Players not under contract are not required to be there, though most of the club`s 24 unsigned players will be in attendance.

One who won`t be is tight end Ferrell Edmunds, who is seeking ``Clayton- type`` contract figures ($1 million a year).

``You can assume Ferrell won`t show up,`` said one of his agents, Howard Shatsky. Edmunds also was not at the post-draft minicamp.

Edmunds` lead agent, Tony Agnone, flew to Miami three weeks ago to meet personally with Winner and Shatsky said they are ``closer`` on contract numbers. ``But not that close,`` Shatsky added. Edmunds` base salary last season was $175,000.

Five other unsigned players were not at the post-draft minicamp -- placekicker Pete Stoyanovich, guard Harry Galbreath, center Jeff Uhlenhake, defensive end T.J. Turner and wide receiver Fred Banks.

Agents for Turner and Stoyanovich said they are trying to influence their clients to be in camp today. The others aren`t expected.

The camps are designed to give rookies as much information about the basic offense and defense to allow them to compete for jobs when the regular training camp begins in July.

Like the May minicamp, there will be no pads issued to the Dolphins for these eight days.

Eight of the nine 1991 draft picks are expected to attend, though none has signed. They are wide receiver Randal Hill (1st round), running back Aaron Craver (3rd), linebacker Bryan Cox (5th), guard Eugene Williams (5th), cornerback Chris Green (6th), cornerback Roland Smith (8th), tight end Michael Titley (10th), tackle Ernie Rogers (11th) and nose tackle Joe Brunson (12th).

All 8 defensive linemen protected by Redskins Giants' Anderson exposed in Plan B

February 02, 1991
By Vito Stellino

Defensive linemen were at a premium yesterday when the National Football League teams submitted their 37-man Plan B protected lists to the league office.

Washington Redskins, for example, protected all eight defensive linemen on their roster, including veteran Darryl Grant.

The Phoenix Cardinals protected Dexter Manley, even though they're not sure he can become a full-time player after sitting out a year because of a drug suspension. Coach Joe Bugel said Manley would be given every chance to become a starter next season.

Washington general manager Charley Casserly said teams are reluctant to leave defensive linemen unprotected because there's a shortage of them in the league.

"They're the highest priority on Plan B," he said. "They go at rates above what their ability is."

Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Ottis Anderson of the New York Giants and Scott Norwood, who missed a last-second field-goal attempt that would've won the game for the Buffalo Bills, were among the 518 players who became Plan B free agents when they were not protected by their teams.

Former All-Pros Roger Craig and Ronnie Lott of the San Francisco 49ers also were on the list. Matt Bahr, who made the go-ahead kick in the Super Bowl, and tight end Mark Bavaro joined Anderson among those set loose by the Giants.

Anderson, 33, was exposed for the third straight year. He was left unprotected less than a week after rushing for 102 yards against Buffalo. The Giants also let loose kicker Raul Allegre, who began the season as their regular kicker before being injured, clearing the way for Bahr.

Buffalo left unprotected three players who started in the Super Bowl -- 34-year-old wide receiver James Lofton, strong safety Leonard Smith and inside linebacker Ray Bentley.

But the Bills offered Norwood and Lofton new three-year deals that will kick in if they don't sign with new teams. The New England Patriots left 37-year-old quarterback Steve Grogan unprotected, and the New Orleans Saints exposed John Fourcade, their starting quarterback at the start of the season. The Miami Dolphins set loose linebacker E.J. Junior.

In putting together their list, the Redskins left unprotected only one starter, defensive back Todd Bowles, but they hope he'll stay.

"We were forced to take some gambles," Casserly said.

Noting that Bowles was left unprotected two years ago, Casserly said, "We took that gamble two years ago and Todd came back."

Bowles is valuable in the complicated system run by assistant coach Richie Petitbon because he calls the defensive signals. The Redskins hope that he won't be as valuable to other teams.

Howard Shatsky, who represents him along with Tony Agnone, said Bowles likes Washington, but will entertain other offers.

Casserly said several of the other players the Redskins want back, including offensive linemen Ray Brown, Mark Adickes and Russ Grimm, linebacker Monte Coleman and long-snapper John Brandes, told them they have no intention of leaving.

Besides Bowles, one player the Redskins could lose is wide receiver Walter Stanley. They signed him last year as a Plan B free agent, but felt they could protect only three wide receivers -- Art Monk, Ricky Sanders and Gary Clark.

As expected, the Redskins did not protect veteran offensive lineman Mark May. Casserly said that coach Joe Gibbs told May the Redskins think he should retire because of a knee injury that forced him to sit out all last year.

May's agent, Ralph Cindrich, said May thinks he can still play and he's likely to entertain offers.

Another player who no longer seems to fit in the Redskins' plans is running back Kelvin Bryant. They advised him to take an offer if he gets one. If he doesn't, they'd talk again about his future.

Of the 37 players the Redskins protected, the contracts of four -- quarterback Mark Rypien, offensive lineman Joe Jacoby, cornerback Martin Mayhew and defensive lineman Eric Williams -- have expired.

That means they can shop for offers, but the Redskins can match any offer to keep them. If they don't match it, the team making it has to give Washington draft-choice compensation. In effect, that means those players are unlikely to get any offers.

Their 23 unprotected players are free to sign with any team by April 1 without the Redskins having a chance to match the offer. If they don't sign, they'd revert to the Redskins.

Washington signed 12 players last year from other teams. Casserly said he doesn't expect to sign that many this year, although they could have some "reactive" signings if they lose players at a certain position.

He said he doesn't anticipate signing offensive linemen, wide receivers or quarterbacks unless he loses players at those positions. One quarterback, Jeff Rutledge, was left unprotected, but he's unlikely to get an offer. The Redskins also are set in the defensive line.

That means they'll be looking at defensive backs, linebackers, running backs and tight ends. They'll also check out punters since they left theirs, Kelly Goodburn, unprotected.