Reason for optimism in DC?
Jarvis Jenkins wasn’t given the opportunity to slowly work his way back into the flow.
In his first practice following a four-game suspension on Tuesday, in fact, Jenkins said he was on the field for almost of the reps. He also was put through a round of post-practice sprints.
But nothing could wipe the smile of Jenkins’ face. After four weeks away, he was finally back where he wanted to be.
“They threw me in the fire,” Jenkins said. “Made me go almost every play. It was a little tiring, you know, first day back, still getting those kinks out.”
Jenkins, the Redskins’ starting left defensive end, was suspended on July 26 for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing drugs. The third-year player said he unintentionally took a supplement containing an obscure banned substance.
Jenkins said watching the games on television and staying in touch with teammates helped him get past the second major hurdle he’s encountered in his brief career. The 2011 second rounder missed his rookie season with a knee injury.
“Just trying not to think about the negative parts of being suspended,” he said. “I had their games TiVo’d, going back and watching the games, still texting the guys. Even though I wasn’t there, I was still in the loop. I’m happy to be back”
He added: “It was very hard. Missing my whole rookie season and then coming back with this and missing four games, it was kind of tough. I was like, ‘Man, what am I doing?’ I had never been in trouble, never got hurt in college. Everything has been new to me.”
Coach Mike Shanahan said Jenkins and linebacker Rob Jackson, who is also returning from a four-game suspension, appeared to be a good form in practice.
“They ran well afterwards,” Shanahan said. “We didn’t have a big workout today. We got in about 25-30 plays and then after that we ran them pretty good. They looked to be in good shape.”
Jenkins started the final 14 games in 2012 after taking over for the injured Adam Carriker. The 25-year-old came into his own late in the season and was having a solid training camp when the suspension was handed down.
“There’s a pretty good chance that I do end up coming back [against Dallas],” Jenkins said of reclaiming his starting role. “I just have to keep working hard. These guys are going to take a break, I’m not. I’m going to stay [at Redskins Park during the bye week].”
“Obviously,” he added, “it’s going to be all eyes on me, waiting for me to mess up, waiting me to do stuff wrong. I just can’t make those mental errors.”