Orakpo: 'I’m excited, man' for first game back

Orakpo: 'I’m excited, man' for first game back
September 4, 2013, 1:15 pm
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Every player on the Redskins’ roster is looking forward to Monday night’s opener against the Eagles.

But the game will be even more significant for Brian Orakpo. For him, it’s going to be the culmination of nearly a year of hard work, in rehab and on the practice field. He said on Wednesday that he expects to be overcome by a flood of emotions and thoughts, particularly during introductions.

“I’m excited man,” Orakpo said. “I can’t wait to step back out there. It’s been a long time.”

To be exact, when Orakpo steps onto the turf at FedEx Field it will mark 11 months and 24 days since he tore his pectoral muscle off the bone in St. Louis, ending his 2012 season just 5 ½ quarters into the campaign.

“It’s going to be relief [because] I’m back, I’ll just imagine all the work I’ve put in, to get back and play at a very high level,” Orakpo said. “There’s going to be a lot of thoughts going through my head.”

He added: “But I can’t get too overly excited. I have to make sure I have to stay calm, too.”

Orakpo’s return is expected to give the Redskins’ pass rush the boost it needs. Last season, his injury contributed to a trickle down effect that resulted in Ryan Kerrigan and others facing more double teams and, ultimately, the unit’s sack total dropping from 41 in 2011 (10 most) to 32 (23rd).

A year ago this week, Orakpo was quietly concerned as the regular season opener approached. He sensed that his surgically repaired pectoral muscle wasn’t quite right and that re-injury was not possible.

But he said he has no such concerns as this season gets underway.

“Now I’m very confident,” Orakpo said. “I’m back healthy, 100-percent. Last year, obviously [my injury] lingered into the preseason. I’m good now. So I have a lot more confidence going into the season.”