Brandon Noble's traumatic tenure with the Redskins may have come to an end yesterday when the defensive tackle was placed on injured reserve, making him ineligible to play for Washington again this season.
Noble, suffering from a cartilage problem and a bone bruise, underwent arthroscopic surgery last week and was expected to miss six weeks. Rookie free agent defensive lineman Aki Jones was added to the active roster from the practice squad to take Noble's place.
Noble, 31, is a much liked and respected member of the Redskins, and the decision was difficult for the coaching staff.
"The guy has become like part of your family," defensive coordinator Greg Blache said, "and you have an emotional attachment that's hard to explain to people on the outside. But we had to make a decision that was good for him and good for the team, too. It was one of those things where in my heart I wanted to wait and wait, but my brain told me that wasn't the best decision to make."
The Redskins signed Noble in 2003, but he tore ligaments in his left knee in the preseason, requiring reconstructive surgery. Noble made a surprising return last season, starting seven games and playing in all 16 for the NFL's third-ranked defense. Noble played in considerable pain at times, he said, and expected future complications given the severity of that surgery. He missed all of Washington's offseason program because of a staph infection in his knee, then experienced the cartilage problem in practice before the first regular season game.
Noble, who was not available for comment yesterday, has said he would consider retirement at the end of this season based on the discomfort in his knee. He will assist the coaches when he is off crutches.
"We'll make the decision as we go down the line if he wants to continue and come back next year and give it another shot," Blache said, "or if he wants to retire. But right now he's going to be my assistant and he's going to work with the tackles and we'll keep him around and keep him involved in it. He's smart and he's a real Redskin, so we wanted him around."
Safety Pierson Prioleau (hamstring), linebacker Lemar Marshall (groin), kicker John Hall (quad), tackle Jon Jansen (thumbs), safety Sean Taylor (shoulder), and tight end Robert Royal (leg) did not participate in yesterday's practice. None of their injuries are considered severe and all could be back for Week 4. . . .
The players are off today through Sunday, and will return to practice Monday. . . .
Linebacker Nick McNeil was signed to the practice squad.