Espy campaigns for spot in Washington

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Espy campaigns for spot in Washington

Postby 1niksder » Sun Aug 13, 2006 2:52 am

Espy campaigns for spot in Washington

By JIM DUCIBELLA, The Virginian-Pilot
© August 13, 2006

Mike Espy is like every other rookie prospect in the NFL, with one big exception.

None of them has ever given a speech in the U.S. House of Representatives.

OK, so the room was empty except for Espy's father, former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy.

"We were just playing around," young Mike recalled the other day.

That, Espy said, was part of a childhood in which he got to experience "a lot of things that a normal young person wouldn't be able to," like having dad introduce him to his boss, President Bill Clinton.

Life in Washington continues to be good for Espy, a 5-foot-11 receiver from Mississippi. He will take the field tonight for one of his two favorite childhood teams, the Redskins, in their preseason opener against Cincinnati.

He is being mentored by one of his two favorite receivers, Santana Moss, and he has shown Moss-like moves and speed during the first two weeks of camp.

"He's made some people take notice," coach Joe Gibbs said.

It's a wonder how NFL teams didn't take notice of Espy out of college. At Ole Miss, Espy caught 136 passes for nearly 1,800 yards and nine touchdowns. Between rushes, receptions, punt and kickoff returns, Espy accumulated 3,240 career yards, and is in the top five all-time in each of those categories.

Yet on draft weekend, no one called his name until the Redskins phoned offering him a spot in a free-agent tryout camp.

"I was hurt, angry, mad - every bad thing you can imagine - after the draft," he said. "But when I came to the Redskins, I put it into perspective and said that everything happens for a reason and to just make the best of it."

And he did, exhibiting enough skill and potential that weekend to entice them to bring him to camp.

"I think I've got my foot in the door," Espy said. "But now with the opportunities they're giving me, I have to push that door open and take advantage of everything."

Espy didn't like it at the time, but he played four positions at Mississippi. However, it turned out to be a blessing, because the Redskins are working him at all three receiver spots.

"It's one of my assets," he said.

So is his intelligence. Considering that the playbook is 700 pages, and each receiver has a different assignment on every play, the coaches obviously think Espy has enough brainpower to handle the job.

Still, like every other rookie on a strong, predominantly veteran team, Espy's route to the final roster will be on special teams. His punt- and kickoff-return experience will help, and he'll get a look on coverage units, too.

"Looking forward to it," he said. "It's something I'm very willing to do."

Espy comes naturally by his athletic prowess. His father was a baseball player, his mother a high school track star in California. His sister ran track at Mississippi State.

Espy's parents are divorced, so he only spent summers in Washington. That makes tonight the start of his campaign for a longer stay.

"He's shown speed and skill in practice, but let's see how he does in preseason games," receivers coach Stan Hixon said. "That's the key."


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Postby Cooley47 » Sun Aug 13, 2006 9:06 pm

Ill take this guy over Jacobs any day. But for now I'll take Thrash. When does Patten come back?
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Postby yupchagee » Sun Aug 13, 2006 10:15 pm

Looked good enough to have Patten & Thrash looking over their shoulders.
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Postby Irn-Bru » Sun Aug 13, 2006 11:12 pm

Espy certainly helped himself out tonight. Some good moves and some good catches when the opportunities came.
"I’m never under the assumption that you draft for need. You draft the best available football player on the board. ... Because, in the long run, they are the ones who will help you win the most games." - Scot McCloughan

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Postby rick301 » Mon Aug 14, 2006 7:37 am

Thrash as grit, Espy has spunk and energy, Patten has ___ (we waiting to see), and Jacobs has wasted talent. I like Espy - I hope he makes the team.

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