But now Redskins coach Mike Shanahan says that Banks will have to contribute as both a return man and a member of a deep wide receiving corps if he wants to remain with the team.
“I called him in early and I told him that he was going to have to help us at the wide receiver position as well if he wanted to make this football team,” Shanahan said Wednesday. “And he accepted a challenge and came in in excellent shape, and it’s really positive what he’s done. Hopefully he can continue to do it.”
Banks tore a ligament in his left knee in 2010 and required surgery. He didn’t miss a game, but struggled to regain his effectiveness. The knee continued to bother Banks off and on last preseason, and during much of the regular season. That kept Shanahan from using him as a receiver. Instead, he made the team as a returns specialist.
But with the addition of Pierre Garçon and Josh Morgan, and the return of Santana Moss, Anthony Armstrong, Leonard Hankerson, Aldrick Robinson and Terrence Austin, roster spots figure to be harder to come by this year.
“I think he understands how competitive our situation is right now on the football team,” Shanahan said.
Banks welcomes the opportunity to compete for a roster spot in an expanded role, and in the last month of OTAs and minicamp has appeared to do well. He is eager to prove he can provide the same excitement as a receiver that he has as a return man.
“I want to be on the offensive side of the ball to help contribute and make big plays,” said Banks, who says his knee is 100 percent healed. “Hopefully I can go out there and make plays. … What I’m known to do is running. By the knee bothering me [last year] I was limited from being 100 percent and being fast as I can be, so I’m very excited to get back feeling the way I felt when I first got here.”