RICHMOND - Rookie linebacker Su'a Cravens made an impact early in training camp. In the first week of practices, Cravens forced a fumble and grabbed an interception, showing the playmaking ability GM Scot McCloughan talked about when the Redskins selected the former USC star.
In his second week, however, the injury bug bit Cravens. The tendon behind the knee in his right leg tightened up, forcing the rookie out of practice on Tuesday and Wednesday. Leaving the field Wednesday night, Cravens made clear he feels better.
"I feel good, I’m ready to ball," Cravens said. "I'll be back out there tomorrow."
With the Redskins medical staff holding Cravens out of practice, the rookie walked the practice field without his own helmet and with no pads on. But as he walked off the field, Cravens carried two helmets, those belonging to Mason Foster and Will Compton.
"This is like a daily routine for me," Cravens said of carrying Foster and Compton's helmets. "They’ve been doing it since OTAs so they’re not giving me any breaks from it."
Cravens carrying the vets helmets from the field is a rite of passage for rookies, but last season's starting linebackers also offered Cravens some advice.
"They tell me to stay in it mentally," Cravens said. "Don’t get frustrated. In the NFL, when you’re hurt it might get a little frustrating, but take all the mental reps you can."
Earlier on Wednesday, 'Skins coach Jay Gruden said that while it's easy to get frustrated, rookies have to get used to the physicality and grind of life in the NFL. The coach added that adjustment is not easy.
"It's quite the grind on these guys, and they’re not used to all the physicality of this training camp and they get dinged a little bit," the coach said. "But they’re getting used to it and they’re going to be fine. We’ve just got to take care of them."
Coaches stress the importance of getting good rest to rookies, but for Cravens, his focus is football.
"It’s a job I came here to do, rest is the last thing on my mind," the rookie said. "I want to make a statement so if that means I got to work hard, that means I'm not going to be off my feet until the end of this season, so be it. I'll do whatever it takes."