- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 14, 2016

ASHBURN — Chris Culliver has vowed that he’ll be able to recover from a torn ACL in his right knee by the start of next season, but whether he’ll do it with the Washington Redskins isn’t clear.

“It’s uncertain,” Culliver said Monday, when players cleaned out their lockers and dispersed for the offseason following a loss to the Green Bay Packers in the first round of the playoffs. “You’ve got to embrace the uncertainty.”

It’s not the injury that has Culliver, 27, unsure of his return. The cornerback was suspended for one game early in the season after he pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors over the summer stemming from an incident in March 2014, when Culliver played for the San Francisco 49ers.

Culliver signed a four-year, $32 million contract with the Redskins — a deal that included a $5 million signing bonus and $16 million guaranteed. According to two people familiar with the matter, though, that contract included a clause that voided any remaining guaranteed money should Culliver be suspended in connection with that incident.

Because he was, the Redskins are no longer on the hook for the remaining $8 million guaranteed to Culliver in 2016. With a $9.25 million salary cap figure looming, which would be one of the five highest on the team, Washington could walk away from Culliver with just a $3.75 million hit to their books — the remaining portion of his signing bonus — this season.

A restructuring of that contract to mitigate that charge and keep Culliver with the Redskins could potentially be in the works, though those discussions have not yet come up, one of those people familiar with the cornerback’s situation said.

Culliver was a favorite of general manager Scot McCloughan, who extensively scouted Culliver in college while in that role for the San Francisco 49ers. The two developed a bond that was rekindled once McCloughan joined the Redskins and extended Culliver the contract.

The Redskins worked around Culliver’s absence by signing veteran journeyman Will Blackmon early in the season and plugging in undrafted rookie Quinton Dunbar, a converted wide receiver, late in the year. DeAngelo Hall, who began a move to free safety, and Bashaud Breeland, who will be in his third year, also will return.

Culliver said he plans to have some role in offseason workouts this spring as he recovers from the injury, which carries, for him, a seven- to 10-month timetable. He tore the ACL in his left knee in training camp in 2013 and missed the entire season.

“You know I’m a worker and I’m going to continue to do what I do best,” Culliver said. “That’s not going to stop me. The progression, and me doing what I’m doing, is there. Things are ramping up for me. I’m walking pretty decently now, and you know, just light things doing on, and like I said, maybe not the OTAs — you might see me in and out — but definitely during the season.”

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