Curtis Samuel's tenure in Washington is off to a rough start.
The prized free-agent signing first injured his groin during Washington's OTAs in early June, an injury that has not allowed him to practice in full since. He began camp on the PUP list and then just days later was placed on the COVID list, a stint that lasted for nearly two weeks. Since returning, the most work Samuel has gotten has been individual work on the side field, as he has yet to be a full participant in practice.
Earlier this week, head coach Ron Rivera said that the team is "ramping [Curtis] up gradually" but didn't go into much further detail.
On Thursday, offensive coordinator Scott Turner was asked about Samuel and supported Rivera's statement, saying he doesn't want Samuel to rush himself back until he's fully healthy.
"I talked to him every day and say, 'just get healthy man,'" Turner said. "We are ready for you when you come back. The biggest thing is we just want him to, when he is healthy, he comes back and he stays back."
Turner stressed that injuries like the one Samuel currently has tend to linger, and doesn't want it to be an issue all season if the speedy wideout were to rush himself back.
"It's not a deal where we try to get him back too soon," Turner said. "And then all of a sudden, when you get soft tissue deals, you can get into a little bit of that. So just get him back to full speed and where he's ready to go and we hit the ground running and he stays healthy."
When Samuel is ready to return to action, though, Turner is excited to see what the former Ohio State star can do in Washington's offense. Turner -- along with Rivera's entire staff -- have preached positional versatility since they arrived in Washington. Samuel's skill set perfectly embodies that philosophy.
"Curtis is a special guy. He can do everything. He's physical, he's fast, he's very intelligent," Samuel said. "There's a lot of guys that you maybe have the skillset to kind of be versatile, but the mental, they can't handle moving around just because it's hard. It's hard to play one position in this league, much less kind of multiple. But he is more than able to do that."
Rivera and Turner know firsthand what Samuel can do, as they coached him for multiple years together in Carolina. It makes sense why they both continue to downplay the impact of Samuel missing practices, as the staff is already familiar with him and knows what he can do.
"We have some stuff that we haven't done too much of that we'll get to once he gets back," Turner said. "I'm eager to do it." Tune into NBC Sports Washington at 5 PM on Saturday for Washington Football Kickoff Live starts as the WFT takes on the Baltimore Ravens in their final preseason game.