After 16 weeks of working, preparing and hoping to catch his break despite little to no indication that he would receive the payoff in this calendar year, rookie practice squad linebacker Will Compton finally received the nod earlier this week.
With Nick Barnett done for the season, the Redskins promoted Compton to the 53-man roster, and he is expected to dress for the season finale against the New York Giants.
Signed as an undrafted free agent out of Nebraska this past spring, 6-foot-2, 230-pound Compton had a promising preseason, recording 13 tackles (second on the team), but didn’t survive final roster cuts. He signed to Washington’s practice squad and has since spent the season working at inside linebacker behind veteran teammates London Fletcher, Perry Riley Jr., Barnett and Josh Hull.
Describing his long wait, Compton said, “It was frustrating. It just is, as somebody who wants to play,” he said. “You’re around these guys and want to get in on the action, and you see guys around you get bumped up that are on the practice squad. That just motivates you to want to get up there. You just stay the course, stay positive, and keep working no matter what, and that just made it that much sweeter that it paid off in the end. I’m definitely excited where I’m at right now.”
Compton said the feeling of his wait was somewhat similar to his redshirt freshman year at Nebraska, but that unlike that situation, he felt less secure because there was no assurance of what his future with the Redskins entailed.
“You had to come to work every day, and if not, you could get cut at any time,” Compton said. “You had to show them why they should pull you up.”
Compton received word earlier this month that the Redskins planned to activate him from the practice squad some time in the final two weeks of the season if a roster spot became available.
The plan, he believes, is for him to dress for Sunday’s game and possibly contribute on special teams as Barnett did, while also serving as Fletcher and Riley’s backups.
“What it seems like right now, is I’ve got to be ready to go,” Compton said. “They told me I’d be the backup and to be ready if someone went down, basically filling Nick Barnett’s role since he got injured. … It’s unfortunate that we lost someone. But I’ve just got to be ready to go.”
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● The Redskins resume practice Thursday at 11:50 a.m. Mike Shanahan, Jim Haslett and Kyle Shanahan are expected to speak with reporters afterward.
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