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After Spring On Sidelines, Leonard Hankerson Ready For Return

By ZAC BOYER | zboyer@freelancestar.com | @ZacBoyer

ASHBURN – Receiver Leonard Hankerson said he learned quite a bit about himself and about the Washington Redskins’ offense even while sitting out of most of the team’s offseason workouts following hip surgery.

Hankerson

Hankerson, who is projected by the coaches to be among the Redskins’ top receivers this fall, underwent surgery on a torn labrum in his right hip in February after it wasn’t responding correctly to three months of rehabilitation.

“If you stay upbeat, you can watch the guys, you can go in the meeting rooms and watch film, listen and learn, breakdown most of the stuff like that,” Hankerson said. “You can learn a whole lot just by sitting on the sidelines, looking at what the other guys do and listening to the coaches and stuff and listening to what they’re saying the other guys did wrong.”

The 6-foot-2, 205-pound receiver was the Redskins’ third-round pick in the NFL Draft last April, but he played in just four games, starting two. His breakout came at Miami in November, when he caught eight passes for 106 yards in front of his hometown crowd, but he sustained the injury in that game and was placed on injured reserve the next day.

Hankerson was cleared to go through positional drills at the start of last week, but head coach Mike Shanahan instead chose to keep the receiver out of much of the organized workouts over concerns about the hip.

“You could see the last couple routes that he ran were full speed,” Shanahan said. “I’m glad we didn’t try to push him or overwork him or we could set him back, but I hope that over the next five or six weeks, he’ll just be getting better and better.”

That’s what Hankerson, who will stay in Northern Virginia until training camp begins late next month, plans to do.

“A player, a competitor, always watches [the other] guys and sees what he does, because you always think you can do it better,” Hankerson said. “You’re just going to watch the guys, just learn from each and everybody.”

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