Safety Reed Doughty may not be one of the Washington Redskins’ brightest stars, but Coach Mike Shanahan describes him as a key component to building a championship-caliber football team.

The sixth-year pro — who last season made seven starts at strong safety and two at free safety while recording a career-high 93 tackles, and on Wednesday signed a three-year deal to return to the team that drafted him out of the University of Northern Colorado — was back on the practice field Thursday afternoon. Doughty lined up at strong safety, and if LaRon Landry remains sidelined for a significant portion of time, Doughty likely will start there. Doughty also has the ability to play free safety, and has been a reliable special teams contributor.

“You want your core football players,” Shanahan said. “Everybody’s not a superstar, but Reed is a guy you can count on in special teams. He can start and he can play either safety position. He’s a student of the game. When he plays, he’s very accountable. He’s the type of guy you have to have to win championships. I like everything about him and he’s going to help us this year.”

Doughty said that the last week had been rather stressful as he waited for the completion of a deal and then Thursday’s clearance to actually begin practicing with the team. In addition to expressing relief that the deal was finally done, he expressed gratitude to the team for bringing him back.

“I trusted my agent to let the process play out, for me to in shape and be ready to go, and for him to take care of the business side of stuff,” Doughty said. “I’m thankful that the organization brought me back and we could figure something out.”

Meanwhile, inside linebacker Rocky McIntosh also was happy to return to the team. There was uncertainty over whether or not Washington would bring McIntosh back for another season because he struggled at times in the 3-4 defense last season.

But McIntosh said he always believed he and the Redskins would work out a deal.

“I’ve never been worried about it,” said McIntosh, who last season recorded a career-high 110 tackles. “You can ask my agent. I never called him to ask what was the deal. I always had the mind-set of just going out there, working out every day. I told him, ‘You only call me or text me when it’s time for me to sign and show up.’ And that’s what happened.”

As soon as the players received clearance from the NFL that they could participate in practice, McIntosh was inserted into the first unit. Second-year LSU product Perry Riley has manned that spot next to defensive captain/fellow inside linebacker London Fletcher all week. But Shanahan said the starting job is far from determined.

“[McIntosh] has got a chance to compete and that’s all you can ask,” Shanahan said. “Rocky did a good job for us. We’re looking forward to him coming in at full speed, ready to go. It’s nice to get him back.”