His knees don’t always agree with the punishment he subjects them to. Yet when other guys were excused from practice during two-a-days (“veteran’s day off” is it called), there was Kendall - participating in every single session.
“That memo didn’t make it to the o-line room unfortunately,” Kendall said. “I was joking with [director of sports medicine] Bubba [Tyer]. I said, ‘Apparently everybody in the media knows I have arthritic knees, but no one on the coaching staff reads the papers.’ But hey, it is over, and I knew all along that if I was struggling that I could go and tell them that I needed a day. But, knock on wood, I felt pretty good throughout the camp, and I didn’t really labor my way through it any more than normal.”
Now that the team has moved into regular-season mode (with just one practice a day), Kendall will be able to rest his knees and any other aches a little easier. This will be his 13th season since being a first-round pick by Seattle, and he has found some alternative methods to prepare his body for the grind.
One such new idea this offseason was spending a few days a week practicing yoga.
“I feel like that has helped with my flexibility, and hopefully it has helped me with some things on the field,” Kendall said. “To be honest, my knees feel better now than they did at any point in the past three or four years. Whether that is from coming out here on the grass as opposed to some Astroturf or it is some of the things I’ve done in the offseason - I focused on strengthening my quads with the hope that would ease [the pain].
“Everybody says arthritis, but the last I’ve been told is it is more like tendinitis, so I’ve tried to strengthen the muscles around them with the hope of alleviating some of the pain.”
Sunday will be the one-year anniversary of the trade that brought Kendall to the Redskins. When Derrick Dockery left via free agency, the Redskins began last training camp with the idea of shifting Todd Wade inside to play guard for the first time in his career.
That plan did not work, and the team was left with a void up front. Enter Kendall, who was in the midst of a falling out in New York.
“He definitely solidified that spot on the line,” Washington center Casey Rabach said. “We didn’t know what we were going to do there. We tried some experiments there during camp, but it wasn’t working out for us. Thank goodness we got him for a prayer and a song from the Jets, and he’s worked out really well for us.”
The move quickly became a welcome one for Kendall as well. His family moved to the area with him, and the Redskins were able to appease his financial concerns.
“It was an unfortunate situation that came up up there,” Kendall said. “To me it was a long process to get to this point.”
Kendall said his family will be joining him again later this week. His health might be a concern, but Kendall has been a durable lineman even though his knees have bothered him. He has missed only three games in the past four seasons.
That stability could be a boon for the Redskins, who will employ five starters over the age of 30 - two of whom missed most of last season with injuries.
“Oh, he’s old,” Rabach joked. “He’s got a lot of things like bad knees, but you know what? He trains hard. He’s a hard-working guy who knows how to get his body ready for this stuff, and he takes punishment well. … He’s a vet - every bit of it. He’s seen everything, done everything, played a couple of different positions - just a very smart football player.”
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