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Where are they now? JetsSkins foursome didn't last long in D.C.

By JOSEPH WHITE, AP Sports Writer

August 18, 2006

AP - Aug 18, 4:44 pm EDT

LANDOVER, Md. (AP) -- Need a reminder of the dizzying pace of change in the NFL? Consider the story of the "JetSkins."

It was only three years ago that the Washington Redskins raided the New York Jets during the offseason, plucking away four expensive, high-profile players who were supposed to put coach Steve Spurrier's team into the playoffs. Knowing good intrigue when it sees it, the league scheduled the two teams to meet in the Thursday night nationally televised game that kicked off the 2003 season.

"It's was pretty intense," said JetSkins guard Randy Thomas, recalling the Redskins' 16-13 victory. "The first time we played them, the first game of the season. The NFL lined it up right, didn't they?"

Yet, as it turned out, the JetSkins quartet had all the staying power of a bad rock 'n' roll band. Their first season produced a 6-10 record, prompting Spurrier to quit. Kick returner Chad Morton couldn't stay healthy and was cut after two years. Receiver Laveranues Coles became so disgruntled that he demanded a trade -- and the Redskins were so eager to oblige that they sent him back to the Jets in 2005 and took a $9.3 million salary cap hit in the process.

So, when the Redskins and Jets face each other Saturday night in an exhibition game, only two JetSkins will be wearing burgundy and gold: kicker John Hall, who has lost his kickoff duties this year while trying to return from two years of perpetual leg injuries, and Thomas, the only one of the four who has lived up to his billing.

Meanwhile, Coles and Morton have both settled in New York -- Coles with the Jets, and Morton with the Giants.

"They had a strong love for us there in Washington," Coles said. "They showed it by paying us what they paid us and bringing us in. The guys were excited about having the opportunity to go somewhere and try to get a new start, but we've all pretty much gone our separate ways."

So, how does Coles remember his time in Washington?

"It's just like having a relationship with a woman," Coles said. "When you break up with her, you always remember the good times, you never really remember the bad. That's the way it is for me now. I never want to remember anything negative that went on there."

The Jets and Redskins continue to do business. Receiver Santana Moss was acquired in the trade that sent Coles back to New York, and Patrick Ramsey -- once the future of the Washington franchise and the winning quarterback in that Thursday night game three years ago -- was shipped to the Jets this offseason for a draft pick.

Ramsey is in a four-way competition with Chad Pennington, Brooks Bollinger and rookie Kellen Clemens for the Jets starting job, but Ramsey played in only one series last week against Tampa Bay. He's expected to get more chances Saturday, especially since Pennington won't play because of a personal matter that caused him to miss practice this week.

"It's going to be fun to see him play," said Redskins tackle Jon Jansen, who remains good friends with Ramsey, "and it's also going to be kind of sad to see him on another team."

Besides settling on a quarterback, New York needs to find some sort of running game. Curtis Martin's future is uncertain because of a knee injury, and a trade for Lee Suggs fell apart this week when Suggs failed his physical. Derrick Blaylock, Cedric Houston and rookie Leon Washington are competing for playing time.

The running game is a focus for the Redskins as well. Featured back Clinton Portis is out a few weeks with a shoulder injury, leaving Ladell Betts as the top back. Washington is also trying to decide on a No. 2 quarterback behind Mark Brunell, with Todd Collins and Jason Campbell both expected to get plenty of work.

Then again, both coaches would welcome any signs of offensive improvement after last week. The Jets lost 16-3 to Tampa Bay, and the Redskins were thumped 19-3 by Cincinnati.

"We'll hopefully get off to a much better start," Washington coach Joe Gibbs said. "We've got a long way to go, obviously."

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