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Commissioner Roger Goodell respected Thrash so much he asked him to serve on his inaugural players advisory committee last year.

“I’m very surprised that I’ve played this long,” Thrash said. “If you had asked me in ‘97, I would have said playing four or five years would be awesome. I hope I’m not just hanging around being a sandbag. As a young guy, you’re concerned about what you need to do, what you need to learn.

“As you get older, you realize it’s not all about yourself. You take ownership of being a leader. You can give encouragement to others, impart some wisdom.”

New Redskins coach Jim Zorn realized that quickly.

“James doesn’t make mistakes,” Zorn said. “He’s able to help get guys lined up. He goes full speed on every play. He reminds me of Bobby Engram in Seattle. When we got him from Chicago, [people said] he didn’t have enough speed. He was so small. Bobby caught 94 passes last year. James isn’t just trying to make the team. He’ll try to be great.”