Andrew Crummey and Jason Goode are like many recent University of Maryland graduates. They’re living together in the suburbs and trying to follow the path of their predecessors from the Class of 2007 who are gainfully employed.
The difference is that Crummey and Goode are seeking high-profile jobs, two of 53 on the Washington Redskins roster after being skipped over in April’s draft. But they don’t see their NFL dreams as farfetched, because they’re just trying to repeat what two of their former Maryland teammates, Stephon Heyer and Sam Hollenbach, accomplished last season.
Heyer, whose draft stock sank after he missed his junior year with knee surgery, not only made the 2007 Redskins, he started five regular-season games and the playoff loss in place of injured right tackle Jon Jansen.
“If I could take the same route as Stephon, it would be nice,” said Crummey, a 6-foot-5, 301-pound four-year Terps starter who was headed toward being drafted before breaking his left leg Oct. 6 against Georgia Tech.
Crummey rushed back to play in the San Francisco Bowl only to break the leg again in the East-West Shrine Game in January. He began running in late May, two weeks after joining the Redskins, and is on schedule to return to the field for the start of training camp July 20.
“If you show you have the ability to play, they’re going to put you out there if they need you,” Heyer said. “I’ve let Andrew know the differences between what we did at Maryland and what we do here, what they’re looking for. He’s got pretty good leverage for a guy that doesn’t weigh that much, and he can move sideline to sideline pretty good.”
Redskins line coach Joe Bugel loves the parallels between Heyer and Crummey.
“Stephon was a total surprise,” Bugel said. “We beat him to death, and he got better and better. He’s come a long way. The kid’s going to be an excellent player. Crummey’s the same way. He’s a tough kid. If we keep getting kids from Maryland, we’ll be all right.”
While Crummey is focused on getting healthy, Goode, his June roommate, is just thrilled to be getting an NFL shot after playing behind 2006 first-rounder Vernon Davis for three years in College Park and splitting time with fellow pass-catcher Joey Haynos and blocking tight end Dan Gronkowski as a senior. The Redskins signed the 6-3, 238-pounder May 13 after he was impressive while attending a minicamp on a tryout basis.
“I prayed a whole lot [before the last minicamp practice],” Goode said. “It helped a lot coming from a pro-style offense and having guys like Stephon and Sam here. When you know you’re not the only one who’s been [down] the road, it gives you a little motivation.”
Hollenbach, who didn’t become a starter until his redshirt junior season at Maryland, knows all about waiting. He didn’t make it to training camp with Washington last summer, getting cut July 17. However, he was re-signed in December after Jason Campbell was hurt. He’ll battle sixth-rounder Colt Brennan and street free agent Derek Devine for the No. 3 spot behind Campbell and Todd Collins this season.
“Jason and I worked together a lot in practice at Maryland,” said Hollenbach. “I really liked his hands and his work ethic right away. He’s a great aathlete. Watching practice out here, I’m not sure if it’s [second-round pick] Fred Davis or Jason in there.”
Tight ends coach Rennie Simmons likes what he sees from Goode, too, praising his hands, quickness and speed as well as his surprising leverage as a blocker. But Simmons acknowledged that the odds are against Goode with Pro Bowl pick Chris Cooley, reliable veteran blocker Todd Yoder and Davis ahead of him. The Redskins are likely to keep three tight ends. So even if Goode outlasts oft-injured 2007 draft pick Tyler Ecker and 2007 training camp casualty Pete Schmitt, he’s looking at a practice squad spot.
Crummey’s situation is similar because the Redskins have proven starters at each line spot plus veteran backups Jason Fabini and Todd Wade and Heyer, all of whom started at least six games last season. Third-rounder Chad Rinehart, a guard, makes nine, leaving at most one opening on the 53-man roster with former Tennessee guard Justin Geisinger next in line.
Still, as Goode said, “anything’s possible.” Heyer and Hollenbach have proved that.