Smith takes case to owner Snyder

Updated: November 24, 2003, 5:18 PM ET
Associated Press

ASHBURN, Va. -- In no mood to celebrate tying the all-time sacks record, Bruce Smith took his case for more playing time to Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder.

Smith got a half-sack in Washington's 24-23 loss at Miami on Sunday night. But the constant losing and his demotion to backup status has the 40-year-old defensive end too upset to enjoy the fact he's equaled Reggie White's mark of 198.

Smith said he discussed his limited role with Snyder after the game.

"I can't help this team win if I'm not on the field," Smith said . "This is not a selfish statement -- I want to help this team win. And being on the sideline, my hands are tied. I think Mr. Snyder was a little disappointed of the fact of that when I talked to him. I'm at a loss for words."

Smith was taken out of the starting lineup four games ago, the first time he has played without starting since 1986. At the time, he said he felt he was being singled out by coach Steve Spurrier and that it was perhaps time to "take a stand and be a little selfish."

Smith teamed with Renaldo Wynn to sack Brian Griese for a 9-yard loss in the first quarter Sunday night. It gave Smith just three sacks on the season, on pace for his worst year since 1991, when he played only five games because of injuries.

Smith and Wynn smiled and hugged after the sack, and Smith tossed the ball to the Washington sideline for a souvenir. Griese became the 72nd quarterback Smith has sacked.

But there were no smiles in a very angry locker room after the defense allowed two long fourth-quarter drives to blow a 23-10 lead. The Redskins (4-7) have lost six of seven.

"Even if the mark had been broken, I wouldn't have been able to enjoy it. I want to win," Smith said. "That's the only thing that I'm selfish about. I want to win. You have a locker room full of guys who are selfish from that aspect. We want to win.

"It just seems as though we find ways to screw it up. That's why that locker room was so frustrated."

Spurrier declined to comment on Smith speaking to the owner about playing time.

"You'll have to talk to those parties about all that," Spurrier said.

Snyder was not at Redskins Park on Monday and was not available for comment.

Smith, who is expected to retire at the end of the season, has five games left to break the record White set during a 16-year career with Philadelphia, Green Bay and Carolina. The record dates to 1982, when the sack became an official NFL statistic.


Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press

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