Every year it seems that at least one key player is lost to an NFL team for the seasons due to an injury sustained during OTAs. This year’s headline loss is Cowboys middle linebacker Sean Lee, who suffered a torn ACL as he collided with first-round pick guard Zack Martin during “non-contact” 11 on 11 drills last week.
It was hardly a violent collision and it’s possible that the damage to Lee’s knee was done before he hit the ground. But staying upright is what Jay Gruden preached to the Redskins after news of the injury hit.
“We brought that up to our team again this morning about staying on your feet, doing the best you can to avoid any kind of drag downs, pull downs, contact,” he said on Thursday, following the team’s first week of OTAs.
The Redskins have been very fortunate in recent years; they haven’t suffered any major injuries during the spring. But with 90 players out there trying to make a good impression on a coaching staff, their luck could run out at some point.
“Every now and then you are going to have a collision, unfortunately, because it is football and guys are trying to show that they are doing right, but we are trying our best to police that and keep people up,” said Gruden.
Gruden is expecting his veteran players to set the example, both in terms of safety and of work ethic. “I think when a rookie comes in here and he sees a guy like Santana Moss working his tail off every day in a non-mandatory session, it’s important. When you’ve got veteran guys leading the way like that, like Santana, DeAngelo Hall, Orakpo, Jason Hatcher, Ryan Clark, you know these guys are doing a good job.”
All they can do is keep working hard and hope that their injury luck holds out.