RICHMOND, Va. -- Nick Barnett stood on the practice field Thursday morning wearing a white Washington Redskins cap turned backward, his hands behind his back. He was to the right of London Fletcher, picking the brain of a fellow old-man linebacker. There was a moment where they each stretched out an arm, pointing toward something in the play that was being run.
Fletcher was 32 when he signed with the Redskins six years ago, and he's still going strong. Barnett is now 32, and he's the latest addition to the team's linebacker corps. He signed a one-year deal as a sort of London Fletcher Insurance Policy, a veteran to have around in case the 38-year-old guy ever misses a game.
"He's definitely a good teacher," Barnett said. "He's one of those guys I've always looked up to as a player, being one of the undersized linebackers and seeing the way he plays, his tenacity, his relentless pursuit, his consistency as a linebacker. He knows the defense inside out."
Barnett and Fletcher both came to Washington via the Buffalo Bills. Barnett spent the last two years there after eight with the Green Bay Packers. He's started 139 games and, like Fletcher, has been a tackling machine, topping out with 102 with the Packers in 2007 (see full story).
Cowboys: Dallas adds two offensive linemen
OXNARD, Calif. --The Dallas Cowboys are bringing in reinforcements on the offensive line after a couple of training camp setbacks at guard.
The Cowboys signed former TCU guard Jeff Olson and former UTEP tackle James Nelson, who went to high school near the team's camp facility in Oxnard, Calif. Dallas released injured defensive end Cameron Sheffield and cornerback Devin Smith on Thursday.
The additions of Olson and Nelson came after Kevin Kowalski sustained a knee bruise on Tuesday and Nate Livings didn't come out for Thursday's walkthrough because of knee soreness. Kowalski is expected to miss at least two weeks.
Even with Olson, the Cowboys have only five healthy guards heading into their preseason opener Sunday against Miami in Canton, Ohio.
Giants: Aaron Ross on a roll
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Being back with the New York Giants is bringing out the best in veteran cornerback Aaron Ross.
After spending last season in Jacksonville, the 30-year-old Ross has been one of the early surprises at Giants' training camp.
"I don't single guys out, but I have to admit he is one of the guys that stands out in my eyes," safety Antrel Rolle said Thursday. "I've been with Ross for a number of years, and just to see him come back, his work ethic on and off the field, he seems like a different person. It seems like he is more focused and more in tune."
In the first week of camp, Ross has intercepted two passes, defended others, jumped a couple of routes and been a presence for a secondary that gave up 254.3 yards last season, 28th in the league.
"He seems like an Aaron Ross who has something to prove," Rolle said.
The way Ross is playing, there is a chance that he could push incumbent Corey Webster for a starting job. Webster struggled last season and agreed to a $3 million pay cut for the final year of his contract, lowering his salary to $4 million. Prince Amukamara is set at the other corner (see full story).