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Saturday night, he took a stretch handoff behind left tackle and didn’t even cut before bolting through the line unlike any back Seattle has had in years. As he ran through the end zone to celebrate his 11-yard touchdown run, he had his arms extended rigidly to each side at shoulder height. Then he tilted like … a Jet?

“I was told I need to flap my arms more,” he said. “I saw that hawk come out that tunnel and it just stays low like that. Just got to get a little more flap next time.”

He brought the ball to the bench for a souvenir of his injury comeback, and to honor Uncle George. He was then mobbed by teammates and the always-excited Carroll, who’s been eager to see how ready Washington will be for the regular season.

His new teammates love him. One late night in training camp, way past curfew, he sent quarterback Matt Hasselbeck a text message asking about a pass route on a third-down play. The 34-year-old Hasselbeck was sleeping.

“I got the text at five in the morning and I texted him back,” Hasselbeck said. “It’s just rare that a guy cares that much, he’s working that hard and he’d reach out to guys.

“He called me a few times in the offseason just to see how I was doing. I’d call him back and say, ‘Hey man, what’s up? What’s wrong?’ He goes, ‘Nothing man, just checking in on you. Wanted to see how you’re doing.’ I’m like, ‘Good.’ ‘All right.’

“That’s pretty awesome _ and rare, you know? And then you take what kind of player he is, a great player.”

The Jets deemed Washington, who turns 28 this weekend, expendable when they drafted USC running back Joe McKnight in April. Washington had recently signed his $1.759 million tender offer as a restricted free agent. He will likely be poised for a big payday in 2011 if he proves he really is back.

He says he isn’t bitter with the way he left the Jets.

“Not at all. I really had to come to closure at that point,” he said. “Right now, I’m just trying to outdo myself, honestly. If I could give my best, my best is good enough.”

Asked if he might like it if New York begins to notice he’s back, Washington cackled.

“I’ll let them assume that,” he said. “I’ve got a bunch of friends in New York. All my teammates were texting me back and forth (after Saturday), some of the coaches over there were texting me. Some of the media guys were texting me, also.

“So I’ve got a bunch of friends over there who are happy for me.”