- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 31, 2007

If serious knee injuries happen in threes, the contingent of NFL players who were at Auburn in 2004 are safe, chiefly Washington Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell.

Cornerback Carlos Rogers became the third ex-Tigers player to be lost for the season when he tore the ACL and MCL in his right knee Sunday against New England. He joins Miami running back Ronnie Brown and Tampa Bay running back Cadillac Williams on the sidelines.

“That’s the crazy thing about it — those are my two best friends,” Rogers said yesterday at Redskin Park. “I’m like, ‘What’s going on? What did we do wrong?’ But those are two strong guys I work out with in the offseason, and now we’ll work to come back to training camp.”

Rogers, who will undergo surgery in two to three weeks, was injured in the first quarter when middle linebacker London Fletcher plowed into Rogers, wrenching his knee backward. Although he limped off the field, he knew the injury was serious.

“Something was wrong — I knew it was kind of bad the way my leg was bent,” he said.

Rogers moved around yesterday with the aid of crutches and put little weight on the injury.

“It’s tough when you miss games, but I’m the kind of guy that stays in good spirits,” he said. “I’ll be happy to watch the other guys out there competing and trying to get wins.”

The injury came at a bad time for the Redskins and Rogers.

Cornerback Fred Smoot has missed three games this season with a hamstring injury, and Rogers’ absence left the secondary short-handed against New England. And Rogers played well — he finished the year with 25 tackles, seven pass breakups and one interception, which he returned for a touchdown against Detroit.

“It’s something that is frustrating because of the season I was having,” he said. “One of my goals was to make sure I got to camp in the right shape and then get through the whole season. To be injured like this, it’s something I have to deal with. But it’s football. The best thing I can do now is work hard and not let this set me back.”

Rogers is confident he will be ready for the start of training camp in July.

“This injury takes five to six months, and I’ll try and push myself to come back faster than that,” he said. “I’ll be back.”

Washington placed Rogers on the season-ending injured reserve list and elevated cornerback John Eubanks from the practice squad.

In Rogers’ place, the Redskins likely will move Shawn Springs to the outside spot and use safety Pierson Prioleau or cornerback Leigh Torrence to cover the slot receiver.

Prioleau covered the slot receiver for most of the New England game with varying degrees of success. Although not always his assignment, Wes Welker caught a game-high nine passes.

“I just have to wait for the memo to be put in my locker telling me where I’m going to play,” he said.

Torrence played the right cornerback position for three quarters against New England. The only noticeable error he made was allowing a 21-yard catch by Jabar Gaffney.

“I’ve been preparing for this for a long time, so it’s good to get an opportunity,” Torrence said. “I’m looking to get experience and establish myself as a solid player for this team.”

Torrence has played in 17 career games. He probably will be the fourth cornerback if the team chooses to use Prioleau to cover the slot.

“We most definitely have confidence in Leigh,” Smoot said. “He’s persistent. He has a veteran’s mind-set — he knows plays are going to be made and plays are going to be missed. But he keeps going.”

Smoot reiterated yesterday he will play Sunday against the Jets but might take it easy in practice.

“They felt like I rushed myself back the first time,” he said. “The point isn’t to just get back. The point is to get back and stay healthy.”

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