Crawford’s season-ending knee injury leaves Redskins in need of punt returner

August 24, 2013

Richard Crawford leaves on a stretcher during the second quarter Saturday. (Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post)

Reserve cornerback and punt returner Richard Crawford suffered a season-ending knee injury during the Washington Redskins’ preseason win Saturday over the Buffalo Bills, the team announced.

According to Coach Mike Shanahan, Crawford suffered damage to the lateral collateral ligament and also a possible injury to his anterior cruciate ligament. Crawford was hurt on a punt return. He made his way to the sideline but later was taken to the locker room on a cart.

“He’ll be gone for the year, according to our doctors,” Shanahan said.

The injury leaves the Redskins looking for a punt returner. The candidates apparently include veteran Santana Moss and rookies Chris Thompson, Skye Dawson and Nick Williams.

“We’ll see,” Shanahan said. “Obviously Chris did a pretty good job today when he went in there. We’ve got a couple options. I can’t tell you for sure at this time.”

Thompson had a 31-yard punt return Saturday.

“It felt good,” the rookie running back said. “That was my first time having a punt or kick return since my freshman year in college. So it felt good, though. I was just glad that [special teams coach Keith] Burns gave me the opportunity to get back there on kick and punt return…. If he puts me back there, I’m going to try to make the best of every opportunity.”

Thompson had a fumble Saturday while playing running back but the Redskins recovered it.

“It’s something you have to improve on,” Shanahan said. “In fact, when he came over to the side, and we were fortunate enough to get the fumble recovery, I emphasized to him no matter how good you are, if you fumble, you can’t play. And he understands that. I think he’s just getting used to the NFL. I was really impressed on that punt return after he did fumble the ball that he had no fear catching that punt return and almost split it for a touchdown and got us good field position…. A lot of guys after they fumble are concentrating so much on their mistake, they can’t focus on catching that punt return. That was very impressive. He’s a young guy with a lot of ability.”

The loss of Crawford also hurts the Redskins’ depth at cornerback.

“Obviously any time a guy goes down, another guy gets an opportunity to show us what he can do,” Shanahan said. “We had a lot of guys play today. I’m looking forward to taking a look at the film, see who really played well. And then we have next week [Thursday’s preseason finale at Tampa]. We’ll get a chance to evaluate a lot more players and as I mentioned, come up with the best 53.”

 

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