Zac Boyer will be entering his third season covering the Washington Redskins for The Free Lance-Star this fall. Make sure to follow Zac on Twitter (@ZacBoyer) for the latest updates or e-mail him with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tim Hightower, Anthony Armstrong Cut As Redskins Finalize Roster
If Tim Hightower hopes to return to the National Football League, he’ll do so with a team other than the Washington Redskins.
Hightower, attempting to return after tearing the ACL in his left knee in a game midway through last season, was surprisingly released by the team on Friday as league rules mandated rosters be pared to 53 players in advance of the start of the regular season.
Receivers Anthony Armstrong and Terrence Austin were among the 20 other players released by the team, while Brandon Banks, Dezmon Briscoe and Aldrick Robinson all made it. In addition, the league announced free safety Tanard Jackson will be suspended for at least a calendar year after failing yet another drug test.
The team kept 26 players on offense, including seven receivers and nine offensive linemen, and 23 on defense – eight linebackers, four cornerbacks and five safeties. Eight of the nine players the Redskins drafted in April made the roster, with the lone exception, sixth-round offensive tackle Tom Compton, likely headed to the practice squad.
Hightower, who tore the ligament against Carolina last October, aggravated the knee in the first week of training camp and didn’t make his preseason debut until a week ago against Indianapolis. He was held out of the Redskins’ final preseason game against Tampa Bay, but said afterward it was in accordance with the team’s plans to rest nearly all of its starters and several other key reserves before the regular season began.
Armstrong and Austin were among a competitive battle at receiver, which may have been the deepest position in training camp.
“[Thank you] for embracing me, unfortunately my time has come to an end,” Armstrong wrote on his Twitter page Friday night. “To the fans, I know y’all are harsh and critical, but it all comes from your passion to be great. Thank you for the memories.”
Briscoe, claimed off waivers after being released by Tampa Bay the first week of training camp, was discouraged about his chances of making the team after not playing until the second half against his former team on Wednesday.
“I mean, I’m not really too confident on if I’m going to make it or not,” Briscoe said after the game. “My offensive performance was pretty good preseason, but like you said, I didn’t play any special teams. That’s a big part, and we’ve just got to see what happens.”
Jackson, in his first season with the Redskins after five in Tampa Bay, was suspended for the first four games of the 2009 season for failing a drug test. He then missed an entire year after he failed another test after the second week of the 2010 season.
According to a league spokesman, Jackson’s appeal of the suspension was denied and he will not be able to apply for reinstatement until Aug. 31, 2013. Jackson signed a one-year, $700,000 contract with no guaranteed money in April and was in the mix with Madieu Williams to serve as the team’s starting free safety.
With Jammal Brown beginning the season on the physically-unable-to-perform list, the Redskins chose to proceed with nine offensive linemen – including tackle Jordan Black, who signed with the team a week into training camp after very nearly retiring. Willie Smith, who started three games at left tackle after going undrafted a year ago, and center Erik Cook were released.
The Redskins also have three specialists on the team – punter Sav Rocca, kicker Billy Cundiff and long snapper Nick Sundberg. That left the team with only 52 players on its roster, which will allow it to add one when players clear waivers today at noon.
Teams will also be allowed to assemble their eight-man practice squads this afternoon.