Antwaan Randle El missed most of June’s organized team activities after having a knee scoped, but the veteran receiver didn’t waste any time showing he’s healthy again as the Washington Redskins began training camp Sunday, whipping cornerback Shawn Springs for a touchdown on their first duel in 7-on-7 work.
“Antwaan was jogging the whole time, and I’m thinking he’s going to sit down and run an out [pattern], and he took off on me,” Springs said. “He started laughing and said, ‘I tricked you, Shawn.’ That’s a good feeling when you got guys who are competitive and know each other. He got me today, and this evening I’ll try to come back and get him.”
Springs, the only player to skip the “voluntary” June OTAs, said the Redskins’ brass, including executive vice president Vinny Cerrato, knew his whereabouts all along.
“That’s why you’ve got agents and representatives,” said Springs, who never called coach Jim Zorn to let him know where he was. “Vinny and those guys know where I was. It wasn’t like I would just be missing. They knew I would come back in shape.”
Zorn said that he and Springs chatted on the field, though they had yet to sit down and talk.
“He’s in great shape,” said Zorn, a Seattle assistant when Springs was with the Seahawks from 2001 to 2003. “We beat him today, which I was excited about. He came out ready.”
While Springs returned, fellow starting corner Fred Smoot sprained his left ankle during the afternoon practice and will be out for a few days. After losing defensive ends Phillip Daniels and Alex Buzbee to season-ending injuries earlier in the day, Zorn joked with black humor that “I love sprained ankles now.”
In June, the consensus at Redskin Park was that cornerback Carlos Rogers wouldn’t be on the field for the start of training camp, that he might open the season on the physically unable to perform list in the wake of reconstructive knee surgery in November. But Rogers worked with the rest of the cornerbacks in individual drills as camp began.
“I was supposed to be on PUP, but I told you I was going to be on the field,” Rogers said, grinning. “I feel good that they’re starting to let me do stuff. I did individual [drills]. I was supposed to do some one-on-ones, but [cornerbacks coach Jerry Gray] said to wait a couple of days. I really won’t know how my knee is until I react to a receiver.”
Zorn said the Redskins are still trying to hold Rogers back.
“We want to make sure when he does really have to push off … that he can do it, so right now we’re trying to be very careful with what he does and how much he does,” Zorn said.
Breaux on hand
Don Breaux, who retired Thursday because of a heart condition after 40 years in coaching, 27 in the NFL and 17 with the Redskins, was on hand for the morning practice to visit with Redskins owner Dan Snyder.
“Don’s upbeat,” Zorn said. “He wasn’t throwing out advice or anything like that, but he’s such a great coach. I hope he can be around as often as he wants to be.”