Hall of Fame cornerback Darrell Green sang Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall’s praises on Sunday and believes that Washington needs to re-sign Hall, whom Green says is just now tapping into his full potential and still has plenty of quality seasons left in him.
The first half of the season concluded on Sunday with Hall playing some of the best football of his career. Hall has three interceptions and nine pass deflections. He also has scored three touchdowns — two off of interception returns and one off of a fumble returns.
Hall this season won matchups with elite wide receivers Calvin Johnson, Dez Bryant and Brandon Marshall, holding all three without touchdowns while assigned to them. On Sunday, he denied San Diego tight end Antonio Gates a chance to catch a winning touchdown in the final 17 seconds of play.
Seven NFL players currently are tied for the league lead with four interceptions. Hall ranks among a dozen players with three. But Hall leads all defensive players in touchdowns. Chicago’s Tim Jennings ranks second with two touchdowns (both on interception returns).
Hall is on pace to record six interceptions, which would tie a career best, and 18 pass breakups, which would represent a personal record. His impact comes after an offseason in which the salary-cap-strapped Redskins released him to avoid paying him to avoid paying him $8 million.
Hall, who previously had a reputation of being just as prone to make big plays as he was to give up big plays, tested the free agent market, but wound up re-signing with Washington on a one-year, $1.25 million deal. If his play remains at this level, Hall could set himself up for another decent pay day, and Green says he believes the Redskins will and should work to retain Hall’s services.
“They will sign him back,” Green said Sunday prior to the pregame ceremony that honored he and more than 100 other former Redskins players. “The Redskins should sign him back. I don’t work for the Redskins. But the Redskins should take a very close look at him, because everybody else will. He’s playing at that level. It’s not going to be about judging yesterday or the day before or the year before. It’ll be judging today, and I think the guy is now interestingly enough, now in the middle of his career where people were thinking it was the twilight of his career, and that’s not true. I think the kid is just beginning to become what they thought he could be in the beginning.”
Thus far, the Redskins and Hall’s representatives have not had any talks regarding a contract extension, a person with knowledge of the situation said.
During the offseason, Hall — a three-time Pro Bowl player — picked Green’s brain on how to further elevate his game and play at a high level on a more consistent basis.
Asked on Sunday what kind of knowledge Green shared with Hall, Green explained, “The game is one side of it, and then the mental is the other. My interaction has had some help in the physical, but it’s more-so mental, and how you think about the game, how you think about your career, how you think about your future, and how you think about — even if you want to — your legacy?”
Hall is in his 10th NFL season but turns 30 later this month. Green said that he believes Hall has grasped the key to winning the mental battle, which translates to success on the field. Because of that, the former cornerback believes Hall’s best days still remain ahead of him.
“That kid has played a lot of football, but he’s still young. And so, I was impressed with that and I have always felt that he hasn’t ever reached his greatest potential,” said Green, who himself made seven Pro Bowls and won two Super Bowls during his 20-year career. “So, I think a lot of those conversations — from me, it makes it credible, and I say that humbly. But it was credible to him. And he started thinking, ‘You know what?’ And then we started talking about other things. And I tell my wife all the time, I’m really proud of him, because here’s a kid that got his money reduced, he’s been successful here, but there’s always been that whole idea that we know there’s more in you. And I think there’s still more in him, so I’m pretty pleased with what I’m seeing.
“It takes an attitude: ‘I can, I want to be, I will,’ ” Green continued. “Those guys he’s covering are the great athletes, they know where they’re going and we don’t. We have to be ahead of you. So that takes an energy to compete the way we compete over and over and over, and that’s what he is starting to tap into: that ‘I want to, I will, I can, and guess what, I’ll do it every time.’ Because that’s what makes you great.”
Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag on Tuesdays.
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