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Brian Orakpo: "It finally sunk in"

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Brian Orakpo: "It finally sunk in"

Brian Orakpo was ruled out for the season midway through last month with a torn pectoral muscle he suffered in Week 2.

The realization that he wasn't coming back, though, didn’t hit the former two-time Pro Bowler until he returned to Redskins Park in recent days to begin an arduous 4-6 month rehabilitation process.

“It’s not a situation where I’m going to come back and play,” Orakpo said in his first public comments since prior to the Redskins' game in St. Louis on Sept. 16. “But I want to be around and show that I care, show all the support and [give] all the help I can.”

He added: “It’s not something I’m accustomed to. It finally sunk in.”

Orakpo said teammates and coaches have been instrumental in helping him get over the disappointment. But it was a switch that flipped in his head this week that’s allowed him to begin moving forward.

“It was just the realization that I’m not coming back,” he said. “I would love to come back and help any way I can, but the facts are the facts. I’m out for the season. It’s something I have to deal with.”

Orakpo originally injured his left pectoral in the final game of 2011 and had surgery to repair the muscle in the offseason. He aggravated the injury in the preseason and then reinjured the pectoral while making a tackle against the Rams. The linebacker had surgery late last month.

“It just wasn’t right,” he said. “You could see as I had my [ice] wraps and different stuff to kind of compensate for the pain I was going through. It wasn’t right, but I was trying to go out there and play, do what I can. And it tore on me. It’s a physical, violent game that we play.”

Orakpo attended Sunday’s 38-26 victory over Minnesota. It wasn’t a flawless performance for the defense, but Orakpo singled out Lorenzo Alexander and the rest unit for putting away the Vikings in the fourth quarter.

“I think they are doing a great job handling adversity and, last week, being able to finish the game when the Vikings were making a run to get back into the game,” Orakpo said. “They were able to close it out.”

If Orakpo does not encounter any setbacks, he could be return for OTAs and minicamp. Right now, though, Orakpo is trying not to look too far ahead.

“I’m just going to get the best rehab and best treatment I can,” he said, “better my body and get ready for next year.”

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Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

There hasn't been much good news out of Redskins Park lately, as the team deals with pending free agency for QB Kirk Cousins and others combined with rumors of infighting among the front office. So video of 2016 first round pick Josh Doctson running and cutting comes at a great time for beleaguered 'Skins fans. 

Doctson posted the video to his Snapchat account. When he last spoke after the Washington season ended, Doctson made clear he was feeling much better and that '100 percent health' is his main goal this offseason.

His rookie year, however, was a different matter.

The receiver out of TCU missed all but the first two games of the year. Even in those games, he played a very reduced role. Drafted 22nd overall, he had just two catches all year as an obscure Achilles' injuries landed him on the injured reserve. His plight could not be figured out by a slew of doctors and specialists, and the team finally decided to sit down their prized rookie.

A breakout year in 2017 would serve Jay Gruden's squad well, as the team stands to lose DeSean Jackson and/or Pierre Garçon to free agency. It looks likely the 'Skins will lose at least one of their starting WRs, and losing both is a distinct possibility. That could result in more than 2,000 receiving yards leaving the Redskins offense, and the team will need Doctson to pick up a good chunk of that production.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Uncertainty around Kirk Cousins impacts Redskins' pursuit of free agent WRs

Uncertainty around Kirk Cousins impacts Redskins' pursuit of free agent WRs

This story originally published on January 4, but has fresh relevence as the Redskins are running out of time to decide what to do with Kirk Cousins. 

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Pending contract talks with Kirk Cousins will not only impact the Redskins salary cap, they will also impact the desire of free agent wide receivers looking to join the Burgundy and Gold.

That's the word from multiple sources as Washington brass again enters negotiations with Cousins after he played the 2016 season under the franchise tag.

It's understandable why receivers want to see what unfolds at QB for the Redskins.

With Cousins, the Redskins run a dynamic, pass-first offense capable of moving the ball among the best teams in the league. Should Cousins leave via free agency, it's unknown what happens for Jay Gruden's 2017 offense.

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 3.0

While it seems likely Cousins would at least return for 2017 under another franchise tag, if that doesn't happen, would the team turn to backup Colt McCoy? Bring in a veteran starter to compete with McCoy? Has rookie Nate Sudfeld developed to a point where he could compete? Questions like these make for uneasy conversations among wideouts looking at options. 

The Redskins not only need to make decisions with their own free agent receivers in DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon, but the team also has shown interest in free agent Kenny Britt, recently of the Rams. Sources indicate Britt would be interested in Washington if Cousins is the quarterback, but the 29-year-old has at least seven other interested teams should the Redskins QB situation not get resolved before free agency opens. 

Jackson's return to Washington seems unlikely, as he will probably command more money than Garçon or Britt.

ESPN's John Keim reported that Garçon will not play for less than the $7.6 million he made this season, and sources have said Britt expects to make anywhere from $8 million to $12 million per season in a multi-year deal.

All three pass-catchers had strong seasons in 2016, all eclipsing the 1,000 yard mark. Among the trio, Britt is two years younger than Garçon and Jackson, who will both turn 31 this season, and bigger. Britt goes 6-foot-3 while Garçon is 6-foot and Jackson 5-foot-10. Neither Britt nor Garçon can touch Jackson's speed, and few players in the NFL can match Garçon's toughness.

That said, Britt raised eyebrows around the NFL getting to 1,000 yards on an awful Rams team that suffered with poor quarterback play and a prehistoric offensive system. 

Another franchise tag for Cousins would not necessarily solve the Redskins issue with free agent receivers, at least long-term. Like all players, wideouts want multi-year deals, and a 2017 tag on Cousins makes it highly possible that Washington needs a new quarterback in 2018. 

Fans need to deal with the possibility that neither Jackson nor Garçon could return to Washington. It might not happen, but it certainly could. Much of that will be determined by money, but the contract status of Cousins will be a factor.

For wideouts, Washington is an attractive destination with Cousins. He's thrown for more than 9,000 yards in the last two seasons.

Without him, the landscape looks quite different. 

RELATED: Jameis Winston wants DeSean Jackson in Tampa