- The Washington Times - Friday, July 31, 2015

RICHMOND — Bashaud Breeland was handed a one-game suspension by the NFL on Friday. There’s a chance his absence could last longer.

Breeland, the Washington Redskins‘ second-year cornerback, sustained an apparent right leg injury midway through the team’s practice Friday afternoon when he fell during one-on-one passing drills.

He was assigned the task of covering undrafted rookie wide receiver Quinton Dunbar on a hitch route when he slipped on the grass and his right leg bent awkwardly beneath him. Several teammates immediately ran to Breeland’s aid, and when helped up by members of the team’s athletic training staff, Breeland was unable to put any weight on the leg.

The Redskins said only that Breeland was undergoing medical examinations on Friday evening and did not provide an update on his condition. Coach Jay Gruden, who held a press conference before practice began, was not permitted to speak to reporters by a team spokesman after it ended.

“We’re praying everything is all right with him,” cornerback DeAngelo Hall said. “Initially, they said it didn’t look like an ACL [injury], so he’ll take some more tests and figure out what’s really wrong and how he feels and we’ll go from there. Hopefully, he’s good to go, so we can get him out there with us and continue to build something.”

The injury came hours after Breeland had been suspended for the Redskins‘ season opener against the Miami Dolphins for a violation of the league’s substance abuse policy.

The timing of the suspension, if related to last year’s incident, is curious. Breeland was issued a citation for misdemeanor possession of marijuana on VCU’s campus on Aug. 11, 2014, the day before the Redskins ended training camp.

Breeland had his case continued twice before it was dismissed on June 30. According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch last November, Breeland and Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael Herring reached an agreement in which Breeland would film a public service announcement for the city’s public schools in exchange for the dismissal of charges.

“We just found out about it here recently, and it’s unfortunate, but Bree’s going to learn from this,” Gruden said. “He loves football, and he’s going to bounce back in a big way.”

The cornerback’s three agents did not return phone messages seeking comment. The Redskins were participating in their morning walkthrough at the time the report was disseminated, and a team spokesman escorted Breeland off the field afterward.

Suspensions handed out for a first violation of the substance abuse policy typically last four games, though the policy does take into account a player’s previous disciplinary record.

Breeland started 15 of 16 games last season as a rookie, stepping in after Hall tore his left Achilles tendon in Week 3. He finished with 66 tackles, two interceptions and two forced fumbles and is expected to challenge Hall, now healthy, for playing time opposite Chris Culliver during training camp.

“It’s a big loss for us because not only can he play inside at nickel, but he can play outside,” Gruden said. “He’s a key member of our special teams, but we’ll have to get somebody else ready. Luckily, we still have [David] Amerson here, who’s going to do a good job. We’ve got Culliver. We’ve got D-Hall, obviously. We’ve got Justin Rogers. We’ve got Tevin Mitchell, who we drafted, so we’ve got some other guys that will have to step up.”

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