As the 2015 season rolled along, rookie safety Kyshoen Jarrett emerged as an important player for the Redskins, especially in nickel situations. Jarrett looked like another potential late-round steal for GM Scot McCloughan, who selected the Virginia Tech defender in the 6th round of last year's draft.
But then Jarrett's progress came to a crashing halt in a largely meaningless late-season game. The Redskins had already wrapped up the NFC East title before a Week 17 tilt against the Dallas Cowboys but Jarrett - like most of the team's starters - still played. Early in that game on a collision with Dallas RB Darren McFadden the Redskins rookie sustained a blow to the right shoulder. The injury was more severe than it appeared, and caused nerve damage to Jarrett's shoulder.
Now, nearly four months after the hit, the future remains uncertain for Jarrett.
"Very concerned," Redskins coach Jay Gruden said of Jarrett's shoulder. "It’s a tough injury for him. He’s one of those kids you want to have around."
Jarrett, who played in all 16 games for Washington before the injury and started five, logged 38 tackles to go with one forced fumble in 2015. With the calendar turned to 2016, and the Redskins brass working to figure out their secondary this fall, Jarrett remains a question mark. For the Redskins, the safety position ranks as one of the biggest areas of need, and the team will likely look to upgrade during the draft next month.
"He doesn’t have much strength right now. It’s not firing to give him strength. It’s going to take some time," Gruden said. "I don’t know how long that’s going to be yet. Something we can’t predict really, just going to continue to rehab and hopefully it fires, we’ll send him to some specialists and hopefully get him out there soon."
The stats don't jump off the page for Jarrett, but a late-round draft pick able to make starts as a rookie says a lot. McCloughan would not get into the physical side of things, but spoke highly of Jarrett.
"I don’t want to get into medical. That’s not what I do," McCloughan said. "He’s a really good football player. He had a really good rookie year for us. He gave his heart and soul and hopefully we’ll get him back."
Nerve damage is obviously tricky; it's not like healing a broken bone, and the recovery process is impossibly vague. One thing that is clear, however, is how much both McCloughan and Gruden value Jarrett.
"He’ll do everything he can to get ready I know that," Gruden said. "The kid loves, loves, loves football and wants to get out there fast."
How fast that will be still remains to be seen.