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Unable To Move Past Knee Injury, Chase Minnifield Released By Redskins

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

(Originally posted 7/24/12, 5:33 p.m.; Updated 7/24/12, 6:20 p.m.)

Chase Minnifield had embraced his status as a player who wasn’t chosen in the NFL Draft. He knew that a knee injury sustained near the end of his senior season at the University of Virginia was the reason, and as he could do nothing about it, he used that slight as motivation through the Washington Redskins’ offseason workouts.

If Minnifield is able to return to the field, he’ll be able to draw on another experience to drive him. The cornerback was conditionally released by the Redskins on Tuesday; officially, he was designated as waived/injured, meaning Washington can retain his rights and put him on injured reserve if another team does not claim him.

Minnifield’s agent, Brad Blank, said the injury occurred near the end of the Redskins’ organized team activities in early June. Within the past few weeks, Blank said, Minnifield underwent a surgical procedure performed in Birmingham, Ala. by James Andrews – his second knee surgery in seven months.

“He made it sound like a freak thing that would have happened even if his knee was fully healthy,” Blank said Tuesday. “He hurt it on the field. It’s not as if he hurt it in the bath tub or something.”

The 6-foot, 185-pound Minnifield originally injured his right knee in practice as the Cavaliers were preparing to play Auburn in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. He underwent arthroscopic surgery in January, which did not allow him to do any running or positional drills at the NFL Combine in February, and tried to return for his own showcase in late March – a decision that scared teams away because his performance showed he was not yet fully healthy.

“I feel well,” Minnifield said on the last day of the Redskins’ veteran minicamp in June. “[I’m] just going out there and trying to compete every day. I’m just putting my health in the Lord’s hands, because you know, you can’t come out here and half it and try to protect yourself. You’ve got to go out here and go all at it, and whatever comes out of it, you’ve got to deal with it.”

Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett and defensive backs coach Raheem Morris each were impressed with Minnifield, with Haslett praising the cornerback’s intelligence and versatility. The Redskins did not outright place him on injured reserve because doing so would could against their 90-player roster for training camp, which opens Thursday.

David Jones, a 6-foot, 197-pound cornerback who played in five games for Jacksonville last season, was signed to take Minnifield’s spot. Jones played in all 16 games for the Jaguars in 2010, starting five, after spending his first three seasons with Cincinnati.

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