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Posted at 02:36 PM ET, 11/22/2011

Finally healthy, Oshiomogho Atogwe is looking to elevate his game

Washington Redskins free safety Oshiomogho Atogwe said that he emerged from Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys feeling fine and that it seems as if his season has started all over again. 

Atogwe had missed the two previous games with knee and toe injuries. Two weeks before that, he missed a game with a knee injury. Prior to that, the seventh-year veteran had played despite a bad hamstring. 

One of the team’s biggest free agent acquisitions of the offseason, Atogwe tried to play through the pain, but after observing him struggling just to make it through practices, coaches told him he needed to let his ailments heal. 

“Atogwe, he wanted to play and I said, ‘I can see that you’re not going full speed’.” Coach Mike Shanahan said. “I had to force the guy to actually stay out, but he knew it was in his best interest. A lot of these players are not going to always tell you that ‘Hey, I’ve got to sit out.’... Sometimes, you have to make a decision you think is best for the team.”

But on Sunday, Atogwe finally was able to take the field without serious hindrances. 

“I felt great. For the first time all season, I felt as close to 100 percent as possible, so I praise God and thank Jesus for healing me,” said Atogwe, who recorded seven tackles (one shy of his season high) and a pass deflection. “It didn’t go as I had planned, but I was thankful that I was able to return back to the field.” 

Atogwe’s game wasn’t perfect. He and DeAngelo Hall had Dez Bryant in bracket coverage, but allowed him to score a touchdown in the first quarter. And Atogwe said that he and Hall were to blame for giving up Bryant’s big catch in overtime that set up the game-winning field goal. 

But Atogwe hopes that now that he feels better, progress will finally start to come and he can return to his ball-hawking ways. In six previous seasons, he forced 16 fumbles and recorded 40 interceptions.

 “I hadn’t played in a few weeks, hadn’t been healthy all season, so it was almost like the first game of the season again for me,” said Atogwe, who has 35 tackles and an interception this season. “My expectation and my hope is that I’ll get better. I’m going to prepare and work to get better, which is what we need.”

By  |  02:36 PM ET, 11/22/2011

 
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