Kory Lichtensteiger said he hopes to return to the Redskins in 2013, but the pending unrestricted free agent also acknowledged that the business side of football is not always that simple.
“At this point, I’m going to be going into my sixth year,” he said as players cleared out their lockers at Redskins Park after the team’s playoff loss to Seattle. “I’m not a young guy anymore. So you want to get something that can set you up pretty good for later in life, take care of your family.”
“But,” the starting left guard added, “at the same time, you want to be happy where you’re working. I feel I’m definitely going to be the most happy working here and playing for Mike [Shanahan] and being a Redskin.”
Lichtensteiger is coming off a strong season during which he proved himself to be a veteran leader on an offensive line that paved the way for the league’s top rushing offense. According to NFL statistics, in fact, Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris were most productive when carrying the ball to the left side of the line behind Lichtensteiger and Pro Bowl tackle Trent Williams.
Lichtensteiger was also strong in pass protection. ProFootballFocus.com only faulted him for one of the 33 sacks absorbed by Redskins’ quarterbacks as well as only five quarterback hits and 14 hurries.
In December, the 27-year-old was named the team’s recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award in recognition of his perseverance. He missed all but five games in 2011 after tearing two ligaments in his knee, then underwent a second procedure in training camp before returning to the lineup in September.
The only blemishes on Lichtensteiger’s 2012 campaign were his propensity for penalties – he was flagged a team-high 11 times – and his ill-fated decision to attempt to play against the Seahawks despite a sprained ankle. He ended up leaving the game in the first quarter after aggravating the injury, which he said will not require surgery and should be healed in two to three weeks.
“I think if it was a normal, regular season game, I would have realized, ‘Hey, I should give it another week or two,’” he said. “I really wanted to be out there and probably didn’t make the right decision.”
In 2010, Lichtensteiger was the first acquisition of the Shanahan regime. And based on his performance this season, he hopes to be a priority once again.
“I don’t want to leave this system, I don’t want to leave these coaches and I don’t want to leave my teammates,” he said. “So the best-case scenario for me is that I get a new deal here. But at the same time, you have to explore all the options. So, I’ll just see what happens and see who wants to talk to me and, like I said, hopefully I’ll be back here.”