Linebacker Brian Orakpo said Monday that his left pectoral muscle is healing well and he expects to be able to participate in organized team activities with the Redskins later this month.
“The arm is good,” Orakpo said. “The pec is feeling great. I’ve been working extremely hard ever since I went down last September and I couldn’t be feeling any better. I know that’s what a lot of players say when they come back from injuries and this and that. But, like I said, honestly I feel good. I shouldn’t have any setbacks from minicamps and OTAs. I should be ready to go as if I didn’t miss a beat at all. I’m excited to get back.”
Orakpo spoke to reporters Monday at the charity golf event he hosted at the Trump National Golf Club. The event was to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Orakpo was placed on the injured reserve list last September after suffering a tear of his left pectoral muscle in the Redskins’ second game of the 2012 season. He’d suffered a tear of the same muscle in the final game of the 2011 season, then had aggravated the injury during a preseason game in Chicago.
“It was before Chicago when I went down,” Orakpo said. “It was just some discomfort, you know what I mean? Football players, good ones, the guys that want to go out there and play, you try to fight through it. That’s what I was doing. I didn’t want to hold back. I had some discomfort in it. But I tried to play through it and eventually it just kept giving out on me and giving out on me. And then it gave out on me obviously throughout the season. But this time around, I really feel great. I’m going to continue to do my maintenance, continue to do my rehab that I need to do. But like I said, I should be ready to go come OTAs.”
The Redskins are scheduled to begin organized team activities on May 20.
Orakpo’s ability to return from his latest pectoral injury and boost the team’s pass rush, potentially aiding a pass defense that ranked 30th in the league last season, will be a key storyline during the offseason and training camp for the Redskins.
“It feels differently because I’m not having any aches,” Orakpo said. “I’m not having any pains. I’m not having any sort of discomfort once you’re post-surgery or post-injury, you know what I mean? That’s the great thing about it. A lot of times you can come back from an injury and you can have some setbacks. You can have some discomfort. But you try to play through it. This time around, it’s really been beneficial for me as far as not really feeling anything and it’s been great so far.”
Orakpo said he’s not concerned about suffering a third injury to the same pectoral muscle.
“It just was a freak accident,” he said. “It was the same pec but it was a different ligament. That’s what people need to understand. The surgically repaired one is fine. It was a different ligament in the pec. For example, if you have a knee injury, you have all types of ligaments — MCL, ACL, PCL. I basically hurt some different ligament in the pec. It was just a freak accident. Maybe I was overcompensating from the first time I hurt it and that ligament in particular tore off the bone. But like I said, I’m good. I couldn’t be any healthier. I continue to get my maintenance in each and every day before we start our workout program, just to kind of stay on top of it this time around.”
Orakpo is entering the final season of his contract and, barring an extension, would be eligible for free agency next offseason. He said he hasn’t had any contract talks with the team to this point.
“We haven’t discussed it,” Orakpo said. “We’re just getting ready for this year. That’s something that’s in the back of my mind right now. It’s really hard to discuss it. We know what’s at stake. The coaches know what I mean to this organization. That shouldn’t be a problem once it’s all said and done. Obviously the [salary] cap issue is a big issue with us right now. So that’s something we’ve got to put on the back burner as we speak and move forward until we get some money back.”
He said he would like to remain with the team for the duration of his career.
“I would love to be a Redskin for life,” Orakpo said. “That’s my goal. Obviously when I talk to Mr. [owner Daniel] Snyder, he says that’s his goal. Coach [Mike] Shanahan says that’s his goal. As long as both sides take care of our business, that shouldn’t be a problem.”
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