Jarvis Jenkins Focused On Making Seamless Return
A four-game suspension ended Monday for the defensive end, who returned Tuesday for a brief practice before beginning preparations to return for the Redskins’ first game after their bye week.
BY ZAC BOYER
ASHBURN – The sweat poured down Jarvis Jenkins’ face and soaked the top half of his practice jersey, turning the burgundy into something more of a deep maroon.
The Redskins were supposed to have completed a brief conditioning session – some running, plus the correction of a few plays from Sunday’s game that went haywire – before they left for their five-day bye-week break mandated by the collective bargaining agreement.
It wasn’t supposed to be anything strenuous, yet it was just that for Jenkins.
“They threw me in the fire, made me go just about every play,” Jenkins said. “It was a little tiring.”
The defensive end was reinstated Monday from a four-game suspension for a violation of the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. When the suspension was revealed in late July, Jenkins cited his use of an over-the-counter supplement that wasn’t on the NFL’s approved list.
He was allowed to finish out training camp and play in preseason games, but when rosters were finalized on Aug. 31, he disappeared. Banished from Redskins Park and unable to have contact with team personnel except for teammates, Jenkins spent most of the next month at his Northern Virginia home while also making a brief trek to his native South Carolina to visit his family.
Jenkins returned to the same private gym near Leesburg where he worked out often during the offseason. He watched each of the Redskins’ first four games with a group of family members, choosing to do so to keep him encouraged.
After all, as the Redskins sputtered to losses in three of their first four games, Jenkins took each defeat personally. He was supposed to be the starting left defensive end; for a month, he was left at wit’s end.
“[I] kind of felt like I had something to do with us losing, you know?” Jenkins said. “I felt like I made a dumb mistake, you know, getting suspended. I hurt our team.”
The timing of the bye week leaves Jenkins and outside linebacker Rob Jackson, who was also suspended for the first four games, in a fortunate spot.
Rather than having just three days of practice before possibly playing in their first game in over a month, the two players will have all week to ease themselves back into a rhythm, then can go through another week of practice leading up to the Redskins’ road game against the Cowboys on Oct. 13.
“You know, obviously, Jarvis is our starting end, and we’ll see if he’s ready to go to take that spot,” defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said. “Kedric [Golston] and [Chris] Baker did a good job last week, so we feel good about that spot.”
Jenkins played in all 16 games last season, starting 14 after a season-ending injury to Adam Carriker. It was his first full year after missing all of 2011, his true rookie season, because of a torn ACL in his right knee.
There were parallels between that injury and the suspension – most notably, the feeling of detachment. Now, Jenkins wants to make it seem like he was never gone.
“It was like flashbacks to when I hurt myself my rookie year, but you know, this time, it was my mistake,” Jenkins said. “I’m not gonna make that mistake again. I paid my dues, and now I’m ready to play football.”