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Suspension gives Redskins' Golston chance to start

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP)

He survived Jim Zorn, Albert Haynesworth and Donovan McNabb. He's started 38 games in even-numbered years, and only five in odd-numbered years. He's scored two points in his NFL career. He averages one sack per season and hasn't recovered a fumble since 2007.

But look at the Washington Redskins' seniority list. Only Santana Moss has been around longer than Kedric Golston.

''I understand what I do isn't always sexy,'' Golston said.

With Jarvis Jenkins suspended for the first four games of the season for failing a drug test, and Adam Carriker probably out for the year after yet another knee surgery, Golston gets his latest chance to show why he's one of those players coaches love to have around. He and converted nose tackle Chris Baker will compete during training camp for the chance to start at defensive end while Jenkins is away.

It was a footnote to free agency when Golston signed a three-year deal in March to stay with the club. Turns out it was a good insurance plan.

''That's one of the reasons why we signed him, for these types of opportunities,'' coach Mike Shanahan said. ''Kedric plays extremely well. I like him, the way he fights, the type of athletic ability that he has. He's a guy that never gives up. When he does play, he always plays well. Those are the guys you need on your football team. A guy like Kedric will probably take advantage of an opportunity like this.''

Golston was a sixth-round draft pick from Georgia in 2006, during Joe Gibbs's second stint as Redskins coach. He was chosen in the same round as safety Reed Doughty, and both have similar stories as invaluable, do-anything backups and special teamers who have occasionally been thrust into starting roles - and who are still around after all these years.

Golston, 30, has played in 98 games and started 43. He has seven sacks, 117 tackles, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. His most noteworthy highlight probably came when he tackled Minnesota Vikings running back Tony Richardson for a safety in 2007.

''Obviously everybody wants to be a starter,'' Golston said. ''If you didn't want to be, you wouldn't be here. But at the same token, identifying your role and being the best at it is what helps the team be the best team that you can be. ... Whether it's taking on double teams or doing all the behind-the-scenes work, hopefully when my opportunity comes, I always want to make the most of it.''

This year at training camp, Golston looks like a Park Place without the Boardwalk. His longtime friend and teammate, Lorenzo Alexander, signed with the Arizona Cardinals during the offseason, the Redskins' only significant loss in free agency. Their lockers were adjacent at Redskins Park. They are business partners, having opened a fitness studio together in northern Virginia. Their families are so close that Alexander's oldest daughter is staying with the Golstons during the football season so she doesn't have to switch high schools during her senior year.

''Obviously he's a brother to me,'' Golston said. ''Sad to see him leave. He was definitely what I call a core Redskin. He believed in everything that this organization stands for, but there is a business side to it. I think he's instilled enough in me and me in him that hopefully I can channel some of my inner `Zo out here during practice.''

Notes: The Redskins brought in LB Joe Mays for a workout Saturday evening. Mays was cut earlier this week by the Denver Broncos. He lost his starting job in Denver last season and then broke his left leg. ... WR Donte Stallworth sat out the afternoon practice with a slight hamstring pull. ... DE Chris Baker was carted off with cramps late in the afternoon session and received an IV.

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Follow Joseph White on Twitter: http://twitter.com/JGWhiteAP

Tagged: Broncos, Redskins, Cardinals, Kedric Golston, Joe Mays, Chris Baker

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