- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Quarterback Colt McCoy will return to the Washington Redskins after agreeing to the terms of a new contract on Tuesday.

McCoy, 28, will sign a one-year deal with the Redskins, according to ESPN, which first reported the quarterback’s agreement on Tuesday afternoon. A backup for the previous three seasons, McCoy played in five games for the Redskins in 2014, starting four of them, and would have finished the season as the starter if not for a pinched nerve in his neck.

The quarterback had been interested in returning to Washington to play for coach Jay Gruden, whose hiring originally appealed to McCoy when he joined the team last spring. After performing sufficiently last season, he was interested in exploring whether there were other opportunities to serve as a potential starter elsewhere.

By returning to Washington, where he’ll again join fellow quarterbacks Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins, exactly how McCoy fits into the Redskins’ plans remains uncertain. Gruden said in December, a day after the season ended, that it would be “very difficult” to have three players competing for the starting quarterback spot, noting that he would “like to try to narrow it down to at least two.”

But Gruden also said in that same press conference that he would prefer to evaluate all three quarterbacks before making a decision, then said in February at the NFL combine that Griffin would have that role entering the 2015 season.

McCoy made his first appearance for the Redskins at the start of the third quarter of their game against the Tennessee Titans on Oct. 19, relieving Cousins after a mediocre first half in his fifth start in place of the injured Griffin. After helping Washington to a come-from-behind victory in that game, McCoy remained the starter for the following game, defeating the Dallas Cowboys, who had won seven of their first eight games, on the road.

Griffin returned from his dislocated left ankle in the Redskins’ following game, but after three ineffective performances, McCoy was tabbed to finish out the season as the starting quarterback — a task he couldn’t handle. He pinched a nerve in his neck late in Washington’s loss to the St. Louis Rams on Dec. 7, then attempted to play the following week against the New York Giants before a loss of sensation in his right arm forced him from the game. The Redskins placed McCoy on injured reserve two days later.

The opportunity to start was the first McCoy had received since 2011, when he was the Cleveland Browns’ top quarterback for the first 13 games of the season. Eventually replaced as the starter, McCoy then joined the San Francisco 49ers in 2013 before signing a one-year deal with the Redskins last spring.

He ended up in Washington because of an opportunity to play for Gruden, who McCoy believed would help him improve as a quarterback. When asked after he was placed on injured reserve in December if he would like to return to the Redskins, McCoy seemed interested.

“I certainly feel like I’m a fit here, and I think we’ll talk about that as we move forward,” he said.

McCoy is only the third offensive player to sign a contract with the Redskins during the past month and only the second of the team’s unrestricted free agents to return to the team. Washington had, until Tuesday, only signed defensive players since the new league year began on March 10.

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

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