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Redskins name punt and kickoff returners for Week 1


Redskins name punt and kickoff returners for Week 1

Wide receiver Jamison Crowder will return punts and running back Chris Thompson will return kickoffs when the Redskins host the Dolphins on Sunday.

Jay Gruden said Crowder’s performance in practice convinced the coaching staff that he’s ready to handle the role as a rookie.

“He’s caught a ton of punts from Tress Way,” Gruden said. “Tress is one of the harder punters in the NFL to catch punts from. He’s gotten a lot of work [so] we don’t feel any worry.”

Crowder, who was a standout returner at Duke, took back one punt for four yards in the preseason.

Thompson, meantime, will be returning kickoffs in the regular season for the first time since 2013, when, in limited duty, he averaged 20 yards on eight attempts.   

“I’m excited about it,” said Thompson, who learned that he had won the job while flipping through the special teams game plan Wednesday night.

Thompson added that he’s a much more refined player than he was two years ago.

“From 2013 to now, I see everything totally different,” Thompson said of his rookie campaign. "In ’13, all I was seeing was color when I was running instead of actually seeing guys. So I’m seeing everything a lot better now.”  

Gruden added: "Because he's a running back, he hits it. He doesn't look afraid back there. Then you've got a chance to break the big one. Their kicker [Andrew Franks] booms them out of the end zone so we're probably not going to get a lot of kickoff returns anyway. But if we do, we feel good about Chris."

Jamison and Thompson will team up to replace Andre Roberts, who handled both punt and kickoff roles last season. Roberts remains the No. 3 wide receiver and figures to be the backup for both return jobs.

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—D-line scoop, Alex Smith's big deal

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—D-line scoop, Alex Smith's big deal

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, March 24, 33 days before the NFL draft.  

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins and NBC Sports Washington.

Free agency update: What's next for the Redskins on the D-line? The Redskins have been casting out lines for defensive linemen since before free agency officially started but they haven’t been able to reel one in. Part of the issue might be that they know that Vita Vea and Da’Ron Payne are likely to be available in the draft. They have to balance spending big on a lineman vs. being able to get one pretty cheap for the next five years.

Redskins make a D-line contract change, gain roster flexibility—Speaking of the D-line, the team negotiated the removal of a salary guarantee for one player to give themselves more flexibility when it comes time to cut the roster down to 53 in September. See the post for details.

Redskins guarantee Alex Smith a whopping $71 million in new contract—In the words of Joe Biden, this is a big f-----g deal. It showed that the Redskins aren’t afraid to pay a quarterback big money if they think it’s the right guy. It should be noted that whether or not they chose the right guy is something that remains to be seen. Although the post shows that it’s plausible for the Redskins to terminate the deal after three years, I anticipate Smith playing out at least four if not all five years of the contract.

Redskins add another ex-Cowboy as they sign Scandrick—Orlando Scandrick has struggled with injuries the past few years and Redskins fans did not greet the news of his signing with great enthusiasm, to say the least. To point out the bright side, his contract is not pricey by NFL terms ($2.6 million cap hit this year, no guaranteed money beyond a $1 million signing bonus) and from what I have been able to gather it’s possible that change of scenery might give him a boost for a year or two.

Tweet of the week

Well before free agency started, I wrote that the Redskins’ top priorities in free agency should be to get extensions done for Smith, Brandon Scherff, and Jamison Crowder. They should have about $15 million to work with after a few more free agent signings and that would be plenty to get all of those extensions done. And if they do score a big free agent signing, it would be worth it to restructure the contract of someone like Ryan Kerrigan to get them done.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.


Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 23
—Training camp starts (approx. 7/26) 124
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 169

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Eagles' Michael Bennett allegedly injured elderly worker; arrest warrant issued

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Eagles' Michael Bennett allegedly injured elderly worker; arrest warrant issued

Philadelphia Eagles lineman Michael Bennett has been indicted on felony abuse for allegedly pushing an elderly NRG Stadium worker during Super Bowl LI.

Bennett was indicted by the Harris County, Texas district attorney's office for injury to the elderly — which is intentionally and knowingly causing injury to a person 65 years or older, according to a press release from the Harris County Sheriffs' Office.

A warrant has been issued for Bennett's arrest.

The 66-year-old paraplegic stadium worker was attempting to control field access when Bennett allegedly pushed her. 

The maximum penalty Bennett faces is ten years in prison in addition to a $10,000 fine.


Bennett — whose brother Martellus played in that Super Bowl for New England — was a member of the Seattle Seahawks during the incident and was in attendance as a noncompetitive player.

The NFL has been made aware of the situation and is looking into the matter, according to Pro Football Talk.

The 32-year-old 10-year NFL veteran could potentially face NFL discipline under the league's personal conduct policy.