People in Columbus, Ohio often asked Doug Worthington this summer: “You used to be a Buckeye. You used to be the captain. Why are you working here?”
Worthington didn’t have much money, thanks to the NFL lockout. So he spent most of his time at his friend’s gym, working as a personal trainer.
“It killed time and I was in the gym all day anyway,” Worthington said. “Made a couple nice bucks from it and it kind of held me over for the rest of the lockout.”
The 6-foot-2, 292-pound defensive end is playing catch up this week as the Redskins prepare for their first preseason game Friday. A second-year player who starred at Ohio State, Worthington debuted at Redskins’ training camp Monday, one day after the Redskins signed him as a free agent.
After a humbling rookie season, Worthington is keeping his head in the playbook in the hope of staying in Washington.
“You have to make sure you work hard and try to make no mistakes and I have to get over that learning curve real soon, especially for me being here a week less than the other players,” said Worthington, who has received help adjusting to defensive line schemes from fellow Ohio State product Darrion Scott.
Worthington barely made the NFL, joining the league as the 242nd overall pick in the seventh round with the Pittsburgh Steelers last year. Remaining in the NFL, Worthington soon learned, would be difficult. He made the Steelers practice squad through Week 1. Then he was cut.
Last November, he signed with Tampa Bay’s practice squad and was activated toward the end of the season. The Buccaneers waived Worthington Friday.
It has been a frustrating road for the defensive end, but Worthington’s journey has landed him where he’s always wanted to make an impact in the NFL: Washington.
“Here in Washington, as crazy as it is, it’s the team I wanted to come to,” Worthington said. “I met [coach Mike Shanahan] before the draft last year. He showed me a lot of things and he was very interested in somebody my size. They have a great scheme, something that fits my prototype and I’m just happy to be back in camp.”