Barry Cofield, who sustained a high right ankle sprain in the Redskins’ season-opening loss at Houston on Sunday, has been placed on injured reserve with the “designated to return” label, the team announced Tuesday.
By giving that designation to Cofield, the Redskins’ starting nose tackle, he will be able to return to the field after a minimum of eight weeks. The team is only able to give that designation to one player each season.
The 6-foot-4, 303-pound Cofield played only 13 snaps in the 17-6 loss after leaving the game with 4:15 remaining in the first quarter. It was unclear how Cofield injured the ankle; he was hobbling during the play where Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins caught what ended up being a 78-yard touchdown pass.
Coach Jay Gruden said Monday that it was possible Cofield could receive the “designated to return” label, but the team would need to review the results of an MRI examination the nose tackle received that day before making a decision.
Signed as a free agent during the 2011 offseason, Cofield had started all 55 regular-season and playoff games with the Redskins and was elected a team captain by his teammates in each of the past two years.
With Cofield out, Chris Baker will slide from left defensive end to nose tackle, while Jarvis Jenkins will step in for Baker as the starting left end.
The roster move involving Cofield was one of a handful the Redskins executed on Tuesday. They signed strong safety Akeem Davis off their practice squad to fill Cofield’s roster spot, then released a pair of practice squad players — cornerback Richard Crawford and wide receiver Nick Williams. They replaced those three with nose tackle Derrick Hopkins, undrafted out of Virginia Tech in May, wide receiver Marvin McNutt and tight end Je’Ron Hamm.
According to multiple people familiar with the situation, the Redskins also worked out veteran tight ends Tony Scheffler and Kevin Brock. Scheffler, an eight-year veteran most recently with Detroit, had planned to retire this past spring after being diagnosed with three concussions in the past four seasons.