Tales from in­jured re­serve

The Washington Post Sunday - - SPORTS - BY MAS­TER TES­FAT­SION

On IR, some of the hard­est work is done when no one is watch­ing.

In­juries are an in­evitable part of foot­ball, and many would ar­gue that they are the worst part. For NFL play­ers who spend their en­tire off­sea­sons train­ing their bod­ies, en­vi­sion­ing an op­por­tu­nity to ad­vance their ca­reers and help their teams, it can be dev­as­tat­ing to land on in­jured re­serve. There is a phys­i­cal and men­tal toll on play­ers as they dis­ap­pear from the sight of fans, me­dia and even coaches when their sea­sons end abruptly be­cause of an in­jury.

“As crazy as it might sound, it’s not a lot we can do to con­vince some­body how hard we work when we’re not play­ing,” said Wash­ing­ton Red­skins safety DeAn­gelo Hall, who spent time on IR last sea­son. “Like a guy on the prac­tice squad, he’s a guy that no­body ever sees on Sun­day, but Mon­day through Fri­day, they’re the hard­est­work­ing guys on the ros­ter be­cause they’re asked to do so much more on the foot­ball field that never gets no­ticed by the out­side pub­lic. Be­ing on IR is kind of sim­i­lar to that from a men­tal stand­point. We’re do­ing all the grunt work be­hind the scenes as op­posed to the fore­front.”

Four Red­skins play­ers who have landed on in­jured re­serve over the past four sea­sons — tight end Niles Paul, left guard Shawn Lau­vao, out­side line­backer Ju­nior Galette and right tackle Mor­gan Moses — opened up about their ex­pe­ri­ences.

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