Chris Culliver’s up-and-down first season with the Redskins has ended on a decidedly down note.
"Chris Culliver tore his ACL and MCL,” Jay Gruden announced on Friday, confirming multiple media reports. “We are going to put him on IR.”
Shortly after Gruden left the podium they did just that and promoted cornerback Dashaun Phillips from the practice squad to the active roster. Phillips signed with the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent out of Tarleton State in 2014. He was released on the final roster cut down and then signed with the Jets practice squad. He was with New York in training camp this year but he was released before the season started. Phillips signed with the Redskins practice squad on September 15.
Culliver signed a four-year, $32 million free agent contract with the Redskins this offseason. It was hoped that he would emerge as the team’s top corner but it never quite worked out. He was suspended for their Week 2 game for a previous violation of the NFL’s personal conduct policy. Then he developed inflammation in his left knee. He tried to play through it during the Redskins Week 4 win over the Eagles but it was apparent that the injury was hampering his play.
Culliver was out the next three games and was just starting to round back into form. Last Sunday it looked like he had finally made a big play when he knocked a pass loose from the hands of the Panthers’ Greg Olsen, grabbed it out of the air, and ran into the end zone for an apparent pick six. But the interception and score were nullified by a borderline penalty for an illegal hit during the play.
He didn’t get a chance to build off of that play as his season ended on Thursday when he landed wrong while going up for a pass, causing the injury.
He will be back next year; his $8 million in guaranteed salary assures that. A general rule of thumb for such an injury is eight months. That would have him ready in time for the start of training camp. But the timetable is only an estimate and some players heal quicker and others take longer. We will see how it plays out next summer.