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Tuesday, May 2, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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NFL Notes: Denzel's son signs with Rams

ST. LOUIS — Signing the son of actor Denzel Washington on Monday ensured the St. Louis Rams of making a splash the day after the NFL draft ended.

John David Washington, a 5-foot-10, 200-pound running back, was among 10 undrafted players signed by the Rams. Washington played for Division II Morehouse College.

"This is all a good story," Rams coach Scott Linehan said. "I hope he's a good running back."

Washington rushed for a school-record 1,198 yards with a 5.6-yard average and nine touchdowns last season. He ended his career as the school's rushing leader (3,699 yards).

Linehan said he didn't know about Washington's famous father until after the Rams became interested in him. Coincidentally, Linehan's brother-in-law, actor Jim Caviezel, just finished filming a movie with Denzel Washington that is scheduled to come out next year.

Caviezel and Linehan are both from Washington. Caviezel was born in Mount Vernon. Linehan grew up in Sunnyside and was an assistant coach at the University of Washington in the 1990s.

Linehan joked that Denzel Washington and Caviezel, who portrayed Jesus in The Passion of the Christ, might make a nice little "sideshow" at training camp.

"I hate to tell Jim, but I think most of them will be looking for Denzel's autograph," Linehan said. "But they should start with Jesus first."

Another unusual addition by the Rams was Connecticut basketball player Ed Nelson, a 6-8 forward who hasn't played football since his freshman year of high school.

"The rage now is to bring into the league these power forwards," Linehan said. "This one's going to be interesting. You'd like him to be a blocking tight end that maybe can be a receiver."

The New York Giants pulled a similar move Monday in signing Jai Lewis, who played a major role in George Mason's improbable run during the NCAA basketball tournament in March.

"I'm very excited that somebody's taking a chance on me and giving me the opportunity to go out there and show what I can do," Lewis said.

Dolphins' Taylor victim of hate crime

DAVIE, Fla. — A man charged with assaulting Miami linebacker Jason Taylor faces hate crime charges, police said.

Redmond Charles Burns, a 24-year-old white man, allegedly yelled racial epithets and obscenities at Taylor, who is black, during a highway confrontation Sunday night.

Taylor (6-6, 255 pounds) told police that Burns (5-11, 168 pounds) threatened to kill him, ripping his shirt and inflicting a "minor laceration" on Taylor's forearm with a metal object.

Taylor declined treatment for the cut, saying the injury was minor. He played in Tampa Bay linebacker Derrick Brooks' charity golf tournament Monday.

Notes

• The San Diego City Council unanimously agreed to allow the Chargers to look for a new stadium site within the county by amending the team's lease. If the team fails to strike a deal in the county before Jan. 1, the Chargers would be free to negotiate anywhere in the country. The Chargers can leave San Diego after the 2008 season if they pay off $60 million in bonds.

• The Green Bay Packers officially signed CB Charles Woodson and released four players, including LB Robert Thomas, a former first-round pick of the Rams.

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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