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Niles Paul on injury: 'Life can be cruel sometimes'

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Niles Paul on injury: 'Life can be cruel sometimes'

A few hours after suffering a season-ending injury in Cleveland, Redskins tight end Niles Paul took to Twitter to express his disappointment and thank fans for their well-wishes.

“This one is a tough pill to swallow,” he wrote. “Finally got the opportunity I always wanted since I entered this league. Took me 4 years to get there & just like that, it was taken from me.”

Paul, of course, was referring to the fact that he had just earned a bigger role in this year’s offense and was listed this week on the depth chart as the Redskins’ No. 1 tight end—ahead of the talented-yet-injury-prone Jordan Reed.

Paul had worked diligently to earn the distinction. The 26-year-old, who signed a three-year contract extension in March that could be worth as much as $9.6 million, had bulked up to 252 pounds (from 238 in 2014) in an effort to become a better blocker, telling CSNWashington.com in June: “I was always a willing blocker, but I was 230-pounds going against guys who were 260, 270, 280. I just wanted to level out the playing field a little bit.”

It worked. Recently, in fact, Coach Jay Gruden called Paul the most “complete” tight end on the roster, in part because of his improved effectiveness as a blocker.

Now, though, the Nebraska product faces a lengthy rehab after suffering a fracture and dislocated left ankle in the first quarter of Thursday’s preseason opening victory.

Paul’s injury robs the locker room of one of its most respected leaders, subtracts a good special teamer from a unit that can't really afford to lose anyone and compounds the Redskins’ depth issue at the tight end position. Last week, Logan Paulsen suffered a toe injury that the team fears is season-ending, a source told CSNWashington.com on Thursday, and Reed is battling a hamstring injury that sidelined him against the Browns. The three healthy tight ends on the roster--Je'Ron Hamm, Chase Dixon and Devin Mahina--have no regular season experience, meaning it's possible, if not likely, that GM Scot McCloughan will look to bolster the unit's depth.

Indeed, this was shaping up to be Paul’s year to take the ball and run with it—literally. Which is another reason he was so emotional as he got carted off the field at FirstEnergy Stadium.

“Life can be cruel sometimes,” Paul wrote. “Thank you for all your well wishes & prayers. They are very much appreciated.”

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Terrelle Pryor, DJ Swearinger get into heated exchange during Day 3 of Redskins-Jets practice

Terrelle Pryor, DJ Swearinger get into heated exchange during Day 3 of Redskins-Jets practice

The Redskins' joint practices with the Jets have been nothing short of entertaining.

Day 1 of practice brought a couple of brawls between the two teams, with one spilling into the sideline where fans were standing. 

Day 2 was relatively calm, but Day 3 has brought another altercation, this time between former teammates Terrelle Pryor and DJ Swearinger. 

During a one-on-one rep, safety Monte Nicholson broke up a pass to Pryor. As Pryor started walking back to the sideline, a very hyped-up DJ Swearinger had more than a few things to say about it. As the two inched closer, Swearinger fakes a punch, causing Pryor to flinch and creating roars from the Redskins sideline. 

It's clear the Redskins' DBs have strong feelings towards their ex-teammate. Back in June, inside linebacker Zach Brown said the 'Skins would "have it out" for Pryor during their joint practices. 

While Pryor won't be playing in Thursday's preseason game, let's hope the competition continues over nonetheless.

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Redskins release CB Orlando Scandrick

Redskins release CB Orlando Scandrick

RICHMOND—Orlando Scandrick’s career with the Redskins ended without him even playing a game.

Head coach Jay Gruden confirmed reports that the team has released Scandrick on the last day of training camp. He did not play in the Redskins’ preseason opener against the Patriots last Thursday.

While reasons for the release will become clearer with time, it is apparent that the Redskins have a great deal of faith in their young cornerbacks, particularly second-year player Fabian Moreau. With Scandrick on the team, Moreau was slated to be the backup slot corner. With Scandrick now gone, the Redskins likely will go with Moreau as the slot cornerback.

The team also apparently has confidence in Quinton Dunbar to start opposite Josh Norman. They also like rookies Greg Stroman, Adonis Alexander, and Danny Johnson. As of now, those three are the backups at cornerback.

Scandrick signed a two-year, $7 million contract in March. The only guaranteed money was a $1 million signing bonus. The move will save the Redskins $2.1 million in cap space this year. They will take a $500,000 dead cap hit next year to account for the prorated portion of the signing bonus.

Redskins 2018 training camp news

-Teammates react: Thompson gets emotional talking about Guice
-Redskins-Jets brawl: A dangerous situation

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

This article has been updated from a previous publish.