- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Wide receiver Josh Morgan watched from the sideline Tuesday as his new Washington Redskins teammates practiced various situations during 11-on-11 team drills. He’s still limited by the broken leg he suffered last October during garbage time of the San Francisco 49ers’ blowout win over Tampa Bay.

He is determined, though, to let go of any bitterness and look forward now that he has a new opportunity near his native D.C.

“I’m very, very close [to 100 percent],” Morgan said after the Redskins’ second day of mandatory minicamp. “I just got to get my explosion back. The pain is gone. Everything else is healed.”

Morgan’s 2011 season took the cruelest of twists after a promising start. He started San Francisco’s first five games and had a team-leading 220 yards and a touchdown on 15 receptions. But with the 49ers leading the Buccaneers, 41-3, with 4:46 remaining, Coach Jim Harbaugh called a short pass play instead of kicking a field goal. Morgan was tackled awkwardly.

He broke his right leg and tore ligaments. Surgery to repair the damage included eight screws and a plate.

“Coach Harbaugh didn’t take us out of the game, but it is what it is,” Morgan said. “You can’t really cry over spilled milk. All I’ve got to do is get back healthy and come out here and do it again here.”

Morgan then missed out on the 49ers’ run to the NFC title game.

“It was heartbreaking, honestly,” he said.

Morgan, who turns 27 a week from Wednesday, put enough good play on tape before he was hurt to attract Redskins coach Mike Shanahan and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. They like his ability to handle a wide range of responsibilities, including blocking. Washington signed Morgan during free agency to what amounts to a two-year, $12 million deal.

It’s a homecoming for Morgan, who played at H.D. Woodson High in the District and at Virginia Tech.

“I want to learn the whole offense like I did when I was in San Francisco,” Morgan said. “I want to learn what everybody got to do so I never have to come off the field.”

He has to get on the field first, though. Morgan was limited in all of the spring practices. Not only does he lack explosion, he said he has lost five inches off his vertical jump.

He had X-rays Monday, which showed the bone healed properly. He is scheduled for an MRI soon to evaluate how the ligaments have healed. Morgan expects to be ready for training camp.

“It’s definitely a matter of strengthening it,” he said, “making sure you don’t overdo it.”

Contract no worry for RG3

Quarterback Robert Griffin III has not yet signed his rookie contract, but that shouldn’t be an issue that keeps him from reporting to training camp next month. The rookie wage scale implemented last season has made rookie holdouts virtually a thing of the past.

“I did talk to my agent last week, and he said, ‘Don’t worry about it,’ and that’s all I have to do,” Griffin said. “I’m here to play football, and we’re going to make sure that happens.”

High-profile houseguest

Mike Shanahan extended some hospitality to quarterback Peyton Manning this spring even after Manning chose to sign with the Denver Broncos instead of the Redskins.

Manning has stayed at Shanahan’s expansive estate in the Denver suburbs while both teams complete their offseason programs.

“I knew his last day [in Denver] was June 15; I knew my last day [in Ashburn] was June 15,” Shanahan said. “I think one of the hardest things for people, whether it’s players or coaches coming in to a new town, it’s that three months transition of bringing a family in and trying to relate.”

• Rich Campbell can be reached at rcampbell@washingtontimes.com.

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