Washington activated wide receiver Curtis Samuel off the Physically Unable to Perform list on Sunday morning following a stint on the sidelines with a groin issue and a couple weeks on the Reserve/COVID-19 list.
After coach Ron Rivera gave this not-so encouraging update on Samuel's status last week, his return to the practice fields in Ashburn, Va. could mean he's back in game action before the end of preseason.
When asked about the difference between Samuel on his first day off the PUP list and Samuel at 100%, Rivera was all praise speaking about the receiver he knows well from their days with Carolina.
"You'll see his play speed is special. You'll see it," Rivera told media after practice. "It's very similar to the way Terry (McLaurin) plays, very similar to the way Dyami (Brown) runs. It's different... One thing I love about Curtis is he's a high energy player and he's infectious to his teammates and you'll feel those things when you watch him."
With the first round of cuts scheduled for Tuesday, though, Rivera and company got a head start on trimming their 90-man roster. Five cuts need to be made by every NFL team by Tuesday before another five will need to be released seven days later. Washington got started with three cuts Sunday.
Former Pro Bowler Lamar Miller headlined the trio of players packing their bags from the Burgundy and Gold practice facilities. Reserve cornerback Chris Miller was also deemed surplus to Rivera's roster plans.
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The third cut was wide receiver Kelvin Harmon, Washington's sixth-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. The former NC State wideout, who posted back-to-back 1,000-plus receiving yards seasons in college, tore his ACL in June 2020 during camp while training on his own.
With a receiving corps headlined by Samuel, McLaurin, and the rookie Brown, it was always going to be an uphill battle for Harmon to crack the roster with guys like Adam Humphries, Cam Sims, and Antonio Gandy-Golden also vying for spots.
"It speaks to the depth of the room, it's a very good room," Rivera said. "Kelvin's gonna get opportunities, but we have a really good room right now. Some of the decisions we made today were based on giving some of the guys an opportunity out there right now."