After three weeks of riding the pine, Ryan Torain finally got a chance to play for the Washington Redskins and exploded onto the scene with 135 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries in Week 4 against the St. Louis Rams.
Now Torain is hoping to maintain his momentum for the Redskins although he doesn’t yet know if he’ll start against the Eagles.
Injury has been the main obstacle for Torain during his NFL career. A knee injury cut his rookie season short, a shattered elbow prevented him from playing the following year, and a hamstring injury forced him out of four games last season.
Torain entered training camp as Washington’s starter, but then broke his hand and Tim Hightower overtook him. Now he’s working to reclaim his job, but at the same time has maintained a positive, patient outlook.
In today’s Gameday Q&A, Torain talks about his attitude, goals and love for the game.
You’re coming off of a big game, a bye week and a good week of practice. What’s your mindset right now?
“I’m excited to get back out there, motivated to just push the team, work hard and make big plays. We’ve been working hard all week, and we want to let our hard work show. I try to stay the same. I don’t like the change. Just study, day-by-day, work with my coaches, teammates, go out in practice and just put it all together.
What have coaches told you about your role for this week’s game?
“They really haven’t told me what’s going on. I just go out there in practice. It’s up to the coaches what they want to do with me, and whatever they ask me to do, I’m going to do it.”
What was it like watching and not knowing when you would get back on the field those first three weeks of the season?
“Patience. Definitely had to be patient and let everything work out. The coaches, they went with what was working at the time, and when they asked me to go out, I went out and did it.”
Were you getting discouraged?
“This is a long season, and I knew I was going to be out there one way or another, so I just stayed focused, talked to a lot of friends and family. And my running backs coach always told me to stay ready because you never know when they were going to call me up, so I did.”
A lot of people picked you up for their fantasy football teams after your last game. Now they’re all asking if you’ll start and want to know how much you’ll play, and if you can have another big game. What’s that like?
“It’s a little weird, but I like the fact that people are talking about me and want me to be out there. I enjoy hearing the feedback and I want to help them out, so hopefully I can do that by playing in the game.”
When did you first feel like you could make it to the NFL?
“Probably grade school. I’d seen too many guys out there for me not to be one of them. I just enjoy playing the game. I’ve been playing it since I was a little boy, and now I’m still playing it as a grown man. So I’m excited to do something that I love.”
Who were your favorite running backs growing up?
I definitely watched Emmitt Smith and Barry Sanders. Definitely was a fan. Barry Sanders was a flashy guy. And Emmitt Smith was a great player. I always watched him and he was on that next level, and was just awesome. I actually got to meet him my rookie year and that was something special to me because I grew up watching him all the time. Great player, great guy.
Were you a Cowboys fan?
“Hey man, I’m an individual player type of fan! I was talking running back. Specify that!”
You’ve dealt with a lot of injuries during your short career. How has that impacted you mentally?
“It made me stronger. Whatever hits you, you’ve got to keep moving forward. It’s not how you start, but how you finish. It gave me a lot more mental toughness and patience. You’ve got to let it all come to you. It’s a marathon, as a lot of friends tell me. If you want to play for a long time, you can’t force anything. You’ve got to stay patient.”