RICHMOND—With the Redskins starting OTA’s a couple of hours to the north, General Manager Bruce Allen stood in a building that was under construction and declared that the 2013 edition of the football team is very nearly built.
Allen’s remarks came during a hardhat press event in the team’s new Bon Secours-Redskins training center in downtown Richmond. The floors of the building have been poured, there is some duct work in place, the players’ lockers have been installed and that’s about it. The two fields on which the team will hold practice have grass and goal posts. It looks like they have made tremendous progress since ground was broken on Jan. 9 but there is still a lot of work left to be done.
Much less needs to be accomplished when it comes to the Redskins’ roster. The team has 89 players under contract with just one player, third-round draft pick Jordan Reed, left to sign. Allen expressed confidence that Reed would be in the fold soon, saying that he has never had a rookie holdout.
Allen said that the team is keeping an eye on the waiver wire but mostly to shore up areas where injuries have left them shorthanded. “As we get through OTA’s we see if there’s anybody out there that can enhance our roster but right now we feel pretty comfortable with the 90 that we have,” he said. “We’re just short in a couple of areas in depth because some players are still mending.”
Allen was asked about one particular free agent player, former Redskins and University of Richmond star Tim Hightower, who has been linked with the Redskins in recent media reports. While he didn’t rule it out, Allen said that any reunion between Hightower and the team would not happen any time soon
“We did draft two running backs [Chris Thompson in the fifth round and Jawan Jamison in the seventh] so we are going to go through the OTA’s and see where we’re at with our young guys and then make a decision closer to training camp,” said Allen.
The team is mostly set in large part to what it was able to accomplish in free agency. The Redskins have 21 of their 22 starters from last year back on the roster as well as many key backups and role players. “It’s a good feeling knowing that 80 percent of the team knows the offense, knows the defense, and the special teams we’ll be running,” said Allen.
Turnover was minimal thanks in part to a number of players agreeing to take pay cuts—not restructured contracts but actual cuts in pay—in order to keep the team together. Allen said that the fact that players were willing to do that was “heartwarming”.
When asked about injured quarterback Robert Griffin III, Allen said that he knew that the building of the training facility was running on schedule but he couldn’t be so sure if Griffin was or not. “It’s too early to tell,” he said.
Allen said that, like every player, Griffin will under go a physical prior to the start of training camp on July 25 and it would be “premature to speculate on his physical condition” before that.
In the meantime, Griffin will be on the field with the rest of the team during OTA’s. “He’s been doing a lot of drill work on his own and with the other injured players,” said Allen. “He just has to follow the doctors’ and the trainers’ advice on a daily basis.”