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Gesek, Injured and Cut, Wants Some More Checks

August 21, 1996

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) _ Numb in his back and arm for a month, 10-year veteran lineman John Gesek said goodbye to the NFL on Tuesday when he was cut by the Washington Redskins. But he still wants another paycheck or two.

Gesek, one of 19 players released as the Redskins trimmed their roster to 60, has been unable to practice for more than a month. Because he was cut while injured, he said he will ask the players’ union to file a grievance over the $500,000 salary he was due to receive this season.

``The club has their best interest at heart, and I got to take my best interests at heart,″ said Gesek, who played injured most of last season and had already agreed to a 50 percent paycut for this year.

Also released was fourth-year running back Reggie Brooks, a 1,000-yard rusher his rookie season who ended up in coach Norv Turner’s doghouse because of several nagging injuries and his tendency to fumble. One of Brooks’ last carries for the Redskins was a fumble returned for a touchdown in Friday night’s 28-7 loss to Cincinnati.

Late Tuesday, the team signed guard-center Vernice Smith, who played nine games with the Redskins last year and became a free agent. Smith was cut Monday by the Jets.

Gesek played most of his career at guard, spending three years with the Raiders and four with the Cowboys _ including back-to-back Super Bowl teams _ before signing a three-year, $3.6 million contract to play center with the Redskins in 1994.

Last year, he started all 16 games _ 12 at center and four at right guard _ despite constant pain and numbness in his neck and arm because of a bulging disk in his neck. He hoped the problem would disappear with an offseason of rest, but it got worse _ spreading to his shoulder and back _ after just a few days of contact at training camp last month.

The Redskins could have put Gesek on injured reserve, but they would have had to pay him his full salary and have it count against the salary cap. By cutting him outright, they only have to pay the portion that was guaranteed. Gesek wouldn’t say how much that is.

``They feel that because it was an existing condition from last season, that they don’t owe me any money,″ Gesek said.

General manager Charley Casserly said the Redskins ``will follow the rules and guidelines of the collective bargaining agreement″ in the matter. He declined to comment further.

Other veterans released were running back Larry Jones, a fourth-round draft pick in 1995; third-year receiver Tydus Winans, who missed most of camp with a sprained shoulder; and fourth-year defensive tackle Leonard Renfro.

Rookies and first-year players cut were linebacker Jeremy Asher, receiver Alfonzo Browning, defensive tackle Ervin Collier, cornerback Ramon George, quarterback Mark Hartsell, center Christopher Sedoris, cornerback Allen Johnson, linebacker Jim Kitts, tackle Marc Lamb, defensive end Don Reynolds, tight end Ca’Dell Seagraves, receiver Charlie Simmons, tackle Matt Storm, tackle Keith Wagner and receiver Michael Watkins.

Placed on injured reserve were rookie defensive end Kelvin Kinney (broken foot) and receiver Brannon Kennedy (hamstring).