Chase Minnfield Counting On Making An Impact With Redskins
ASHBURN – It wasn’t long after Chase Minnifield signed a contract with the Washington Redskins that defensive backs coach Raheem Morris let him know his new team will be counting on him.
“If you’re feeling healthy, you’ll probably help this team win,” Minnifield recalled Morris telling him.
It’s quite a hypothetical. Once considered a potential first-round selection in last month’s NFL Draft, Minnifield injured his right knee leading up to the Cavaliers’ appearance in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, leading to concerns about his health that dropped him out of the draft entirely.
Minnifield instead signed a free agent contract with the Redskins, and he was at the team’s three-day rookie mini-camp to familiarize himself with his new team.
“It was tough, just because, you know, I put up a better college resume than most,” the 5-foot-10, 183-pound Minnifield said. “I had a chance to leave my junior season, and I came back and didn’t play worse than I did my junior season. It was definitely a shocking thing.”
Minnifield said it was during one-on-ones in practice that he first injured the knee. He sat out of the game, a loss to Auburn, and later needed microfracture surgery, which he underwent in January.
He showed up at the NFL Combine and interviewed for teams, electing only to take part in the bench press to let his knee heal. He thought he’d be healthy by Virginia’s pro day in March, when he’d work out for scouts on campus, but instead only hurt himself further.
Once timed in the 4.4-second range in the 40-yard dash, Minnifield was timed closer to 4.7 seconds. That scared a lot of teams off; five, he said, called to offer him a free agent contract, and all said that the knee was their concern.
He was not a full participant for the Redskins over the weekend, instead electing to sit out at some points for what he labeled “precautionary reasons.” In rehabilitating the knee with this father, Frank, a four-time Pro Bowl selection with Cleveland in the 1980s, Minnifield said he’s managed to lower his 40-yard dash time to 4.48 seconds.
If he can maintain a steady improvement, he could make an impact for the Redskins this season. The team needed depth at the position entering the offseason, and while it signed Cedric Griffin and Leigh Torrence and drafted Richard Crawford, Minnifield certainly has the greatest potential.
“I thought I could come in here and start, but I thought I could come in anywhere and start, honestly,” Minnifield said. “They know I can play.”