4201Traylor to replace Washington
- Apr 1, 2004By Len Pasquarelli
Not to worry, New England Patriots fans, at least those who fretted
over the free agency defection of prized nose tackle Ted Washington
to the Oakland Raiders.
The dogged personnel department that never seems to sleep promised a
replacement and on Wednesday afternoon delivered, signing free agent
defensive tackle Keith Traylor to a contract, details of which were
not immediately available. The 12-year veteran essentially will
replace Washington in the middle of the 3-4 defense that coach Bill
Ironically, Traylor and Washington played together for two seasons
with the Bears and provided Chicago with two mammoth interior run
Traylor, 34, might not be quite as effective as Washington, one of
the NFL's premier big men and a defender whose tackle totals always
belied his value, but the Pats coaches feel he can still be a solid
player if his snaps are maximized.
The former Central State (Okla.) star, like Washington, regularly
commands double-team blocking and generally keeps offensive linemen
away from linebackers. His acquisition, likely for a modest
contract, is typical of the kind of additions the Patriots have
become so adroit at making under Belichick and personnel boss Scott
While it doesn't seem that significant, if Traylor is healthy, his
presence will be a big plus for the defending Super Bowl champions.
It will enable the Patriots to be flexible again in their tricky
defensive fronts and means the team will not have to force some
youngsters, like 2003 first-rounder Ty Warren, into the lineup.
Last season, Traylor started and played in 10 games, missing six
contests after having an arthroscopic procedure on his right knee.
He had 18 tackles, four of them for losses, and a forced fumble.
Traylor originally entered the NFL as a third-round pick of the
Denver Broncos in 1991, and at that point, he played linebacker. He
grew, over time, into a tackle and, when he has been healthy, has
been a stout run defender.
He has started in 107 of his 171 appearances in stints with Denver
(1991-92 and 1997-2000), Green Bay (1993), Kansas City (1993-96) and
Chicago (2001-2003). Traylor has 427 tackles, 13 sacks, 11 forced
fumbles and three recoveries.
*** I'm just curious, Traylor currently is listed as 340 lbs, what
did he weigh in '91 to be drafted as a Linebacker?
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