Redskins' Orakpo knows big personnel changes loom

Redskins' Orakpo knows big personnel changes loom
December 25, 2013, 2:00 pm
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Mike Shanahan on his Christmas plans

When Washington’s defensive players step onto the field Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium, it probably will mark the final time many of them play together as members of the Redskins. 

Linebacker Brian Orakpo says he hopes that fact will provide some additional incentive for the 21st-ranked unit against Eli Manning and Co.

“Obviously, it’s going to be the last time we suit up [together] and hopefully we can go out with a bang,” Orakpo said this week. “At least get the bad taste out of our mouth and finish the season somewhat on a positive note.”

Orakpo’s status for the season finale remains unclear. He left last week’s game in the fourth quarter with a right groin muscle strain and was limited in practice on Wednesday. After practice, he described himself as “pretty banged up” and said he won't be "stupid" when deciding whether to play or not.

But Orakpo’s injury isn’t the only uncertainty that’s on his mind these days. The 27-year-old can also become a free agent after the season. In fact, seven players (including Orakpo) who started on defense against the Cowboys are also eligible for free agency.

“Once the game is over with, then there will be a realization of what’s at hand,” Orakpo said.

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The other pending free agents are defensive end Chris Baker, linebackers London Fletcher and Perry Riley as well as defensive backs DeAngelo Hall, Josh Wilson and Brandon Meriweather are all eligible to become free agents. Key reserves Rob Jackson, Reed Doughty and Nick Barnett are also on the list.

And that doesn’t include defensive coordinator Jim Haslett and his assistants, whose fates are tied to embattled head coach Mike Shanahan.

“As a group,” Orakpo said, “we all know this is going to be the last time we’re all going to be together. We’re not naïve to the situation; This is the NFL. This is a situation where a lot of guys are on one-year deals or whatever the case may be. Things change year after year.”

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