Ten Washington Redskins rookies joined their veteran teammates—and a special guest—at a Northern Virginia high school Tuesday morning for the first of three players-only informal practices scheduled for this week.
DeMaurice Smith, the executive director of the decertified NFL Players Association, looked on as the Redskins performed position drills, seven-on-seven work and brought 10 of the club’s 12 draft picks into the fold.
The ongoing lockout has prevented normal offseason practices under the watch of coaches at Redskins Park, but a few veterans organized these workouts to try to salvage something from the offseason.
“We just want to play football, and we’re taking the steps to get there,” Redskins first-round pick Ryan Kerrigan said. “It’s good that we’re all able to get out here, the rookies included, to start being a part of the team and get a taste of the NFL.”
Ten of the 41 players who attended the practice (see the full list below) were drafted last month and joined their Redskins teammates for the first time. Their first NFL practice wasn’t as glamorous as they once might have envisioned, but rookies were content to simply get started with their new team.
“You have to applaud the players for getting us together and bringing us rookies up here to actually learn the playbook,” fifth-round rookie receiver Niles Paul said. “It’s actually helping us out a lot. It’s definitely a fun time.”
Quarterbacks John Beck and Rex Grossman continued the early stages of their position battle, each throwing long touchdowns during seven-on-seven drills.
Veteran quarterback Donovan McNabb did not attend, nor did maligned defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth. Several prominent players who might be free agents also stayed away, including receiver Santana Moss, cornerback Carlos Rogers, safety Reed Doughty, tackle Jammal Brown, linebacker H.B. Blades and tackle Stephon Heyer.
Any injuries suffered at these workouts would be classified as a non-football injury, so there’s a significant risk involved with participating, especially for unsigned rookies and veterans with cloudy contract situations.
This is the second round of informal practices the Redskins have hosted this offseason. Approximately 30 players attended two days of workouts last month.
After Tuesday’s 95-minute practice, Smith addressed the group and answered questions. He updated them about upcoming litigation and stressed unity, players said.
“It’s important to hear what we have going on on the players’ side of this lockout,” tight end Chris Cooley said. “People ask me all the time what’s going on with the lockout, what’s the deal, and the real answer is I don’t know. So I was excited to see what ‘D’ had to say and see where we are.”
Smith declined comment.
Asked if Smith told them anything that could spawn optimism about a resolution to the labor battle, Cooley indicated that uncertainty still prevails.
“Almost word for word is best-case, worst-case: Best case is that we could get a deal done in two days. Worst case we miss football,” Cooley said.
Many players planned to spend this afternoon meeting to discuss offensive and defensive schemes.
“The turnout is good,” said veteran linebacker London Fletcher, who helped organize the workouts along with linebacker Lorenzo Alexander. “Guys are coming from all over the country, coming out trying to get acclimated to what we’re doing. Especially for the young guys, they’re behind the 8-ball a little bit because they’re not going to have those [organized team activities] and the minicamps like we’d normally have.”
LIST OF ATTENDEES
(* indicates rookie)
QB: John Beck, Rex Grossman
RB: Ryan Torain, Keiland Williams, Andre Brown, Roy Helu Jr.*, Evan Royster*
FB: Mike Sellers, Darrel Young
WR: Anthony Armstrong, Brandon Banks, Terrence Austin, Leonard Hankerson*, Niles Paul*
TE: Chris Cooley, Fred Davis, Logan Paulsen
OL: Casey Rabach, Kory Lichtensteiger, Will Montgomery, Erik Cook, Selvish Capers, Clint Oldenburg, Maurice Hurt*
DL: Kedric Golston, Chris Neild*
LB: London Fletcher, Rocky McIntosh, Lorenzo Alexander, Chris Wilson, Perry Riley, Ryan Kerrigan*, Edgar Jones, Markus White*
CB: DeAngelo Hall, Kevin Barnes, Brandyn Thompson*
S: Macho Harris, Chris Horton, Anderson Russell, DeJon Gomes*