- The Washington Times - Friday, August 21, 2015

Adam Hayward tore the ACL in his right knee in the Washington Redskins’ preseason victory over the Detroit Lions on Thursday night and will miss the season, a person familiar with the situation confirmed Friday morning after the results of an MRI examination were reviewed.

A backup inside linebacker, Hayward was the special teams captain last season. His injury means two of the Redskins’ most respected leaders on special teams have sustained season-ending injuries in as many weeks. Tight end Niles Paul broke his left ankle in the Redskins’ preseason opener against the Cleveland Browns on Aug. 13.

Hayward was covering a kickoff with 1:56 remaining in the second quarter when he collided with Lions safety Isa Abdul-Quddus near the Detroit 30-yard line. His right leg buckled shortly after impact, and he needed to be helped off the field and was taken into the locker room with the assistance of a cart.

He declined the chance to speak after the game, leaving the locker room on crutches and without being able to put any weight on his right leg. The Redskins’ medical staff had diagnosed the torn ligament after the game, but was waiting for the examination results to determine the extent of the injury.

“It’s a big blow for special teams — and the leadership,” coach Jay Gruden said after the game. “Adam was voted captain. He just got here from Tampa last year and he was voted captain unanimously. That type of guy he is in the locker room — and Niles, too, so that is a big blow, more so off the field in the locker room than on the field.”

Hayward, entering his ninth season, joined the Redskins in March 2014 after seven years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He missed the final five games of last season with a broken right leg.

“Man, those are two gurus right there,” said fullback Darrel Young, referring to Hayward and Paul. “It’s unfortunate that we’ve had two of our guys go down, but guys have got to step up in this situation — and right now, it’s on me.”

Fifth-round draft pick Martrell Spaight, undrafted rookie Terrance Plummer and Alonzo Highsmith are the inside linebackers listed behind Hayward on the depth chart. Spaight, from Arkansas, has played the most snaps of the three, stepping in for Keenan Robinson and Will Compton as the two have battled injuries during training camp.

• Zac Boyer can be reached at zboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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