Patten Returns After Viral Meningitis

By Howard Bryant
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Washington Redskins wide receiver David Patten made his training camp debut Monday, having missed the seven practices plus Saturday's scrimmage against Baltimore because of viral meningitis.

Patten spent three days in the hospital before being released Thursday and said he lost about five pounds.

"It gave me a rough scare for about four or five days, but I've got my strength back and now it's just a matter of easing back into this thing and getting around with the rest of the fellas," Patten said.

Patten, 31, said he had no idea how he contracted the virus but assumed it was from stress and overworking.

"It's so hard to tell. I can't remember anything specific. There are so many different ways it can happen," he said. "The only thing I can think of is that over the six-week period just trying to get everything done while I was home on the break, I was just worn down."

The offseason has been difficult for Patten. Before contracting meningitis, Patten wondered how the acquisition of two high-profile players at his position -- Antwaan Randle El and Brandon Lloyd -- would affect his position. But after Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs phoned, Patten believed he would be given an equal chance to compete for playing time at wide receiver.

But Redskins associate head coach-offense Al Saunders said that because he had been working with Patten in the spring, he did not think Patten was too far behind the rest of the wide receivers.

Patten knows he has some catching up to do.

"I'm a week behind. I haven't been out there with the guys," he said. "The fortunate thing is that this is the third time starting with the offense. I think by the time Thursday or Friday rolls around, I think I should be back in the thick of things.

Youthful Errors

As exciting as it may be for young players to be in an NFL camp, so too, must they experience the wrath of coaches who often use the mistakes of rookies to send larger messages to the team.

Northern Colorado rookie Reed Doughty received an earful from Gregg Williams, assistant head coach-defense, during the scrimmage with Baltimore.

Doughty was beaten by tight end Rob Abiamiri on goal line defense and Aric Williams, who was signed as an undrafted free agent by Philadelphia last year but did not play for the Eagles, was beaten on a fade pattern on the next defensive series.

"Some of the young guys have to understand that this isn't NFL Europe where you get beat on a jump-ball fade," Williams said. "This is not Northern Colorado where you get run over by a tight end in the red zone on a pass route. Those kind of people, that's just the learning curve."

Days earlier in practice, Doughty was bulldozed by 6-foot-3, 278-pound fullback Mike Sellers.

However, offensive coaches pleased with the progress of Jesse Lumsden, the Canadian running back who rushed for 32 yards on six carries in the scrimmage.

"He's got good speed, good quickness, and is very competitive. One of the things I like most about him is that he's harder on himself than I am on him," said running backs coach Earnest Byner. "In reality you'd have to say there is a learning curve, because when you're looking at the NFL, you're looking at the best in the world. But I don't think that's going to be a problem for him because of his mind-set. He already believes he can play at this level."

Molinaro Hurt

Backup offensive lineman Jim Molinaro was carted off the field after suffering a left knee injury and, Bubba Tyer, director of sports medicine, said Molinaro may have a meniscus tear. Gibbs said Molinaro left Redskins Park to undergo an MRI exam. . . . Starting cornerback Carlos Rogers missed practice with back spasms. He's missed four practices and the scrimmage, but Tyer said he was close to returning.

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