Minnifield wants to contribute

Minnifield wants to contribute
March 27, 2013, 2:30 pm
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Redskins cornerback Chase Minnifield said Wednesday that his recovery from a torn ACL remains on schedule and that he hopes to participate fully in the team’s offseason program.

“I feel great, actually,” Minnifield said in a telephone interview. “I’ve been running full speed for almost three months, cutting and everything. There’s basically nothing I can’t do right now.”

Minnifield was signed by the Redskins last April as an undrafted free agent out of Virginia and quickly impressed the coaching staff with his football instincts during offseason workouts. But his rookie season got cut short before it ever started; he suffered a torn ACL in his right knee near the end of minicamp in June and missed the entire 2012 season.

It was the second ACL injury Minnifield suffered in that knee. The first injury occurred in 2007, his senior year in high school. Both reconstructions were performed by Dr. James Andrews, the same orthopedist who repaired Robert Griffin III’s knee in January. It is also been reported that Minnifield underwent microfracture surgery on the same knee in January of 2012.

When OTAs begin in mid-May, Minnifield said he expects to be ready to start covering NFL-caliber receivers. But he also said he's not going to force things if he requires additional time to get comfortable.

“I’ll be ready right around then,” said Minnifield, who turns 24 this week. “It will probably be up to me. I probably could do it. But I’m going to make a smart decision. I’m going to base it on how I feel like I’m able to defend NFL receivers, not just being able to run. It’s different when you get out there and try to cover someone who is paid to do this, too.”

With the Redskins’ secondary situation in flux, it’s possible Minnifield could have an important role in 2013. Only two cornerbacks on the roster – E.J. Biggers and Josh Wilson – have starting experience. On Wednesday, the team was scheduled to host 35-year-old veteran Antoine Winfield.

Regardless of the team’s decision on Winfield, Minnifield believes he’ll be in the mix for playing time in the coming months.

“They are very optimistic about my situation,” Minifield said, referring to the coaching staff. “They are looking forward to me being healthy. They know that I can play at this level, and play well at this level. I appreciate the opportunity and I definitely feel like I can help the team.”