RICHMOND – Redskins rookie running back Chris Thompson has been forced to take a mental “practice script” into each session of training camp, being held off on the sidelines by a cautious coaching staff.
Thompson’s first training camp has been defined by a schedule set up around his ongoing recovery from a torn anterior cruciate ligament, suffered last year while he was in college at Florida State. On Monday, the fifth-round pick will participate in practice for the first time in nearly a week.
“I haven’t been practicing every day throughout training camp. That’s just the coaches decision on how many consecutive days I’ll go, if I’ll go every day. So far I haven’t. Just so the coaches make sure not to put too heavy of a load [on me],” Thompson said following Monday morning’s walkthrough.
Thompson participated in the walkthrough, bursting through holes and making routine cuts – but even that type of action as been at a premium as training camp nears the halfway point.
Thompson has made use of his time by stretching and conditioning with Redskins training staff during practice – and by simply memorizing the offensive play calls from the coaching staff. In addition to learning more about his knee every day, he said, he’s trying to pick up a new offensive system.
“Sometimes I’ll just stand behind, you know, try to stay behind the running backs sometimes, so we’re on track. You know just try to look at what they’re looking at,” Thompson said.
Following Monday’s afternoon practice, the 5-foot-7, 192-pound Thompson said he doesn’t know the next time he will practice again. He will be monitored, he said, and he is usually notified by the coaching staff of his clearance to practice late the night before, or early the next morning.
The Redskins made Thompson the 154th overall pick in April, taking a chance on him despite his medical history. Thompson suffered a broken a vertebrae in his back in 2011, followed by the torn ACL last October.
He is among several running backs vying for the backup role to Alfred Morris, and has the tools to be an ideal third down back who can bring speed and pass catching out of the backfield. Monday was another step in what has been a long, and at times brutal, recovery the past two years, he said.
“It’s been a very hard and long process. Coming from the back injury I played so well that following season, at first I questioned if I even wanted to play ball again,” Thompson said. “I still ended up getting drafted, so that is just one thing that pushed me in itself, is that the organization believed in me that much, to draft me after two major injuries.”
Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at email@example.com with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag.
● Today’s second practice is at 3:20 p.m. If you’re headed to Richmond, check our our guide to training camp for tips on getting autographs, where to park and things to do after the session is over.
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