Updated, 4:50 p.m.
Washington Redskins players expressed a mixture of excitement and relief following Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith’s joint announcement that the NFL’s owners and players had agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement.
Redskins Park will open for voluntary workouts at 10 a.m. Tuesday, and players have been told to expect to check in for training camp physicals and meetings on Wednesday, with practices beginning on Thursday.
But Monday evening the team announced that camp will officially open on Thursday, which was the date originally set several weeks ago.
“At least I now know what I have for tomorrow instead of waking up to see if anything has transpired,” said offensive lineman Artis Hicks, who is flying back to the area from Memphis on Tuesday morning. Hicks said he and his family began packing Sunday evening when all indications were that a deal would be completed on Monday.
Some Redskins already have arrived in the area from their offseason homes, and others already make their homes near Redskins Park.
Rookie defensive lineman Jarvis Jenkins left his home near Clemson, S.C., Monday morning, and expected to reach Northern Virginia later in the day, but said he was still not sure when he can report to Redskins Park.
Teams can’t reach agreements with their rookies until 10 a.m. Tuesday, but Jenkins said he wants to be ready whenever he gets the green light.
What will be interesting to see is how many players report for camp in shape, and how many still have significant conditioning left to do. Linebacker Lorenzo Alexander said he didn’t know the state of all of his teammates, but expected most to be ready to go.
“I’m sure you’re going to have guys that aren’t ready, but for the most part, I think we have a group of real professionals,” Alexander said. “And if they’re not, it’s a good way to weed guys out.”
Alexander said that he personally feels like he is in the best shape of his playing career.
“The one benefit of the lockout was being able to train on my own and do what I needed to do to get better at my position,” said Alexander, who entered the league in 2005 as an lineman and last season converted to linebacker. “With the team, you’re trying to cater to 90 guys, but I was able to work with my trainer and three other guys on what I need. I’m probably as strong as I was when I was 300 pounds, and now I’m lean, 255, 260 pounds and much more explosive.”
Defensive end Phillip Daniels spent the offseason powerlifting at his gym in Illinois and said he will report for camp stronger than at any point in his career.
“As a lineman, it’s the first three or four steps that are the most important,” Daniels said. “Power lifting is perfect for that because it makes you more explosive.”
Said Hicks, “It shouldn’t have been hard to prepare yourself. It’s what we do.”
The first two practice days of training camp are expected to feature pad-free sessions, as players work their way back into the swing of things, and then they are allowed to practice in pads on Saturday.