'Survivor' husband hopes for Spurrier QB vote

Updated: October 30, 2003, 5:49 PM ET
ESPN

ASHBURN, Va. -- Tim Hasselbeck might want to consult his "Survivor" wife about this reward challenge: Learn Steve Spurrier's offense in 10 days, then suit up knowing you're one snap away from your NFL quarterback debut.

Either Hasselbeck or rookie Gibran Hamdan -- neither of whom have thrown a pass in an NFL game -- will be the No. 2 quarterback for the Washington Redskins on Sunday when they play the Dallas Cowboys. It's a risky prospect given that starter Patrick Ramsey has been sacked 22 times and had to leave the last game early with an injury.

"You get scared a little bit," receiver Rod Gardner said. "But you hope that don't go down. That'd be kind of rough coming in the first time, having haven't played a lick."

Hasselbeck was signed last week to replace Rob Johnson, who never really fit into Spurrier's system. Spurrier had hoped to re-sign Danny Wuerffel, who knows the Fun 'n' Gun as well as anybody, but Wuerffel declined.

Hasselbeck, therefore, has had to prepare for a dire-case scenario with some heavy-duty cramming.

"It's pretty much all I do -- without it basically being taped to my head," Hasselbeck said. "You never want to get out there and not know what's going on."

Hasselbeck has football in his blood. His father, Don, played nine years in the NFL as a tight end. Brother Matt is the starting quarterback for Seattle.

All that football fame has been eclipsed, however, by Tim Hasselbeck's wife, Elisabeth, who became a national celebrity when she made the final four on the "Survivor" series set in the Australian Outback. She now hosts a fashion show on the E! network.

"My wife is more famous than my brother or my dad or anyone in my family," Hasselbeck said. "I don't know if anyone will ever outdo her."

Hasselbeck would settle for just a first NFL snap under center. He spent one game on Carolina's roster last year, then appeared in two games with the Eagles as a holder late in the season. Undrafted out of Boston College, he has also spent time in training camp with Baltimore and has played in NFL Europe.

The Hasselbeck brothers could be on opposite sidelines when the Redskins play the Seahawks in two weeks, and Tim Hasselbeck is already getting calls from people wanting tickets.

"I tell them, 'If you want tickets, call Matthew.' Right now all I'm thinking about is trying to prepare for the Cowboys," Hasselbeck said. "When you're in my situation, it's crazy to look at things further than a week."

If Spurrier doesn't feel Hasselbeck is ready, he could make a roster move and promote seventh-round draft pick Hamdan from the practice squad.

Hamdan has been allowed to travel to road games and chart plays on the sideline this season, helping him feel like a full member of the team. But he played in only one preseason game, and facing the Cowboys in Texas Stadium wouldn't be his ideal choice for a regular-season debut.

"This might be a little faster than I envisioned," Hamdan said. "But I'm just hoping Patrick stays healthy and goes out there and plays well."

Spurrier plans to wait as long as possible to select his No. 2 quarterback, but he's already said it would be an effort "just to try to get through the ballgame" if he had to play someone other than Ramsey.

"We haven't made a final call yet," Spurrier said Thursday. "But Tim Hasselbeck has picked up our system very quickly. He seems to know where everybody is going, so he and Gibby are still competing."

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index