RICHMOND — Jordan Reed understands the questions. For the first time, he thinks he has the answers.
Dogged by injuries over his first two years with the Washington Redskins, including lingering soreness that limited him during the team’s offseason workouts, Reed spent the last two months overhauling his diet with the hope that it will help his body withstand the rigors of the season.
Gone are the junk foods that were an occasional vice. Fried food is out of the question. Now, the tight end has focused on what he called “a clean diet” and drinking plenty of fluids.
“I think once I stay healthy and be able to play 16 games, I could [add] a lot more production for this offense,” Reed said.
Name an extremity, and Reed has likely injured it. When he was drafted, compensating for a bruised left knee led to a strained left quadriceps that kept him limited throughout his first summer with the Redskins.
He missed the last five games of his rookie season because of a concussion and strained each of his hamstrings last year, and he has also bruised his foot, sustained a hip pointer, sprained a thumb and missed time during training camp last year with a stomach virus.
In June, Reed received a stem cell treatment on his ailing left knee, which hadn’t felt quite right since his final season at Florida in 2013. That left him unable to participate in the team’s on-field workouts, and it wasn’t until a few weeks before training camp opened that he was once again cleared to run.
“You get the shot, and then you really have got to just focus on strengthening the quad for about six weeks, and then you start doing weight-bearing exercises and running and things like that,” Reed said.
Though he’s played in only 20 of 32 games since arriving in Washington, the 6-foot-2, 237-pound Reed creates significant match-up problems and adds another dimension to the offense.
He had nine receptions for 134 yards and a touchdown in a victory over the Chicago Bears during his rookie year, then had another nine catches for a season-high 123 yards in the Redskins’ loss to the Indianapolis Colts last season.
Still, Reed played approximately 35 percent of all snaps last season, mostly because of his assortment of injuries and managing his recovery.
If he can stay on the field, all of those persistent questions may finally be put to rest.
“It comes with the fact that I got injured, so I understand where they’re coming from,” Reed said. “I’ve just got to make sure that it doesn’t keep happening.”