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So even though the Redskins won’t have a full-pads, contact practice until Saturday morning, there were smiles all around because Samuels and Thomas were healthy and in the lineup together for the first time since Week 6 of last season.

“I don’t think about injuries,” said Thomas, who followed his neck surgery in January with a knee scope in May. “I’m glad to be out here, but it feels like my 11th year. You think you’re beastin’ in the weight room, you’re running good, but as soon as you get someone over there trying to beat you… ”

Samuels, who at 305 pounds is at his lowest weight since his second season, was happy to be on the field after staying out of contact drills at the start of camp last year as he recovered from an elbow injury. His downturn last season began with a knee injury in Week 6.

“It was tough. It was hot out there, but everything felt great,” Samuels said. “I feel lighter and better conditioned.”

Zorn will limit Thomas and Samuels, who missed as many games in 2008 (four) as he had during his eight previous seasons, to one practice on two-a-days once contact begins.

“I saw a great first day from both those guys,” Zorn said. “I was really excited to see Randy be able to jump right in and go hard. Chris has got a mission for himself.”

Thrash’s new role

Receiver James Thrash, whose 12-year career ended with his release in June, was hired to assist with the Redskins’ player programs.