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Reuben Foster has impressed Redskins' DC Jack Del Rio, but health remains major question

Reuben Foster has impressed Redskins' DC Jack Del Rio, but health remains major question

Redskins defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio spoke highly of linebacker Reuben Foster's involvement in the team's virtual offseason, but unfortunately, the coach seemed unsure about the linebackers' prospects of returning to the field. 

"I think he’s done a good job of trying to be involved in the meetings and we’ve approached it as though he’ll be there," Del Rio said last week on a video conference call with reporters. 

"Then we’ll see whether we get the clearance or not for him to actually go."

And there's the catch.

Foster blew out his knee more than a year ago, and the injury was so severe that it caused nerve damage. That caused Foster to lose feeling in one foot, but in January, he was able to regain that feeling. 

With a new coaching staff and a new crew of linebackers nothing is certain for Foster as he works to overcome the injured torn ACL, MCL and nerve damage. An NFL Network report about the nerve damage suggested it was a similar injury that Cowboys LB Jaylon smith sustained in his final college game in 2016. He missed all of the 2016 season in Dallas, but hasn't missed a game since and made the Pro Bowl last year. 

If Foster could follow a similar recovery would be tremendous news for the Redskins. 

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Contractually the Redskins gave little indication to expect a similar recovery though. Last month the team elected not to exercise the fifth-year option on Foster's rookie contract, so if he plays this year, he will be headed towards free agency in 2021. Of course, if Foster gets back on the field, the team could try to work out a contract extension in season. 

Since a controversial waiver claim landed Foster in Washington towards the end of the 2018 season, the former Alabama linebacker is yet to play a single snap in a Redskins uniform. When former team president Bruce Allen claimed Foster despite two domestic violence arrests in one year and his release from the 49ers it ignited a firestorm across the NFL, and the league quickly moved to put him on the Commissioner's Exempt List. That ended his 2018 season. Eventually Foster was cleared by police and by the league and was primed for a major role in 2019 before he injured his knee and leg in the first session on OTAs in May 2019. 

Allen was invested in Foster's success, but the new staff led by Ron Rivera does not have the same level of investment. The team moved away from a 3-4 base defense to a 4-3 and signed Thomas Davis and Kevin Pierre-Louis as free agents in addition to re-signing Jon Bostic. Washington also drafted Michigan Khaleke Hudson in the sixth round. All of those players along with 2019 standout Cole Holcomb and 2018 draft pick Shaun Dion Hamilton make for a fairly full linebacker group already. 

"I think what we have is an interesting mix. I am excited to get them on the field and let them compete," Del Rio said of the Redskins linebacker unit. "We have a blend."

Before the injury Foster would be a lock for a roster spot. He's incredibly physically gifted. Now, if Foster gets medically cleared and gets back on the field, he needs to be ready to compete.  

"In terms of the mental approach and in terms of his participation in the meetings, being up to date with the install, getting the coaching and all of that, he’s been on point with that," Del Rio said.  "The part we can’t impact right now, is where he’s at with his rehab and whether he gets the clearance to go."

Unfortunately for all parties it's the part that Del Rio can't impact - the injury - that will make the biggest impact on Foster's future. 

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Ex-Washington GM believes Dan Snyder will use name change as a 'chip' to build stadium bigger than Cowboys'

Ex-Washington GM believes Dan Snyder will use name change as a 'chip' to build stadium bigger than Cowboys'

After receiving immense public pressure from major sponsors earlier this month, Washington announced in a statement on Monday that the team would retire the name 'Redskins' and its logo. The change was likely not one owner Dan Snyder wanted to make, as he stated in 2013 that the team would "never" change its name.

However, former Washington GM Vinny Cerrato believes there might have been another reason Snyder agreed to finally move on from the name.

In an interview on ESPN's 'Golic and Wingo,' Cerrato explained that he believes Snyder will try and use the name change as a "chip" to eventually build a new stadium in Washington, D.C., one "bigger and better" than his good friend Jerry Jones' 100,000-seater in Dallas.

"Ever since Jerry [Jones] built his stadium...we're playing the Cowboys, and we flew down and had dinner in Jerry's box," Cerrato said. "Jerry gave us a tour of the stadium, he's pushing the button opening and closing the roof. Ever since then, [Snyder said] 'I'm going to have one bigger and better.'"

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Cerrato said that now that the name has been retired, Snyder will be able to turn his dream stadium into a reality.

"Trust me when I tell you this, Dan will have one bigger and better," Cerrato said. "He'll use it as a chip to get that land where RFK was, to change the name. I would bet that it's somewhere involved in there. The name change is also probably helping him get the property he really wants."

RELATED: THEISMANN HOPES WASHINGTON CAN BE AN EXAMPLE OF ACTING ON SOCIAL CHANGE

Prior to the name change, it's been no secret that the owner wants a new stadium, specifically one in downtown Washington at the team's old RFK site. However, the process of building a new stadium may not be so easy.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said in June that she believes the name must be changed and that the team won't be allowed to build a new stadium in D.C. until that happens. Even after Washington's statement earlier this week, Mayor Bowser said there are still plenty of hurdles that remain for Washington to build a new stadium at the old RFK location.

Washington's current lease as FedEx Field in Landover, Md., is set to expire at the end of the 2027 season.

Only time will tell if the name change ends up helping Snyder build his "bigger and better" stadium in D.C. Despite that, Cerrato believes the owner will look back on the name change and wonder why he took so long to make it.

"For where we are at in society, I think it was an absolute that needed to be done. I think he realized that," Cerrato said. "His business partners, Dwight [Schar], Rob Rothman and Fred Smith, they tried to push upon on him recently. So I think it was something that needed to be done. In five years when Dan thinks back about it, he'll probably think 'Why did I wait so long?"

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Joe Theismann hopes Washington can serve as example of taking action on social change

Joe Theismann hopes Washington can serve as example of taking action on social change

Following the killing of George Floyd on May 25, the fight for social justice and racial equality has been at the forefront of issues in the United States.

The current social justice movement in America has impacted Washington's NFL team, as the organization announced on Monday it would retire the name 'Redskins' -- a slur that some Native Americans find offensive and racist -- and the team's logo. The change -- something Washington owner Dan Snyder said he would "never" do in 2013 -- is felt to be overdue by many.

Former Washington quarterback Joe Theismann hopes that the team's eventual name change can be used as an opportunity for the organization to serve as an example by taking action for social change.

"I think that what we've proven with the new name of the Washington football franchise is that we need people to take action on the things that they want to get done," Theismann told ABC7's Scott Abraham.

"There's so many things socially that people talk about doing... but we're not really getting the results. In this case, I hope the Washington name and the change that's taking place can be an example to people."

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Additionally, the Super Bowl-winning QB explained that he wants those upset by the change to understand that things don't say the same. Sometimes, change is necessary.

"Things are always changing in one place, in one way or another," Theismann said. "We're experiencing this now through the pandemic and all the things that are happening socially around the country and really around the world. And I think what we have to do is listen, open our hearts, open our minds to what's going on."

Asked if he was upset or angry by the change, Theismann said that he doesn't have any regrets personally with the franchise.

"I don't have any regrets... I was very proud to put on that uniform and represent, what I felt like were the Native Americans," Theismann said. "As a matter of fact, in 1982 when we won the World Championship, I was given a chief's headdress by one of the tribal individuals. And it's a cherished item."

Plus, the quarterback also stated he would continue to wear his 'Redskins' gear, saying  he will "explain to people, to me it represented a proud tradition of the people that I spoke to who were Native Americans."

RELATED: FORMER WASHINGTON KICKER MARK MOSELEY UPSET BY NAME CHANGE

However, Theismann made sure to emphasize he is fully embracing the change and the current social movement.

"I think it's a time to get excited," Theismann said. "Let's embrace what's here in front of us, let's embrace this young group of guys."

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