RICHMOND, Va. – Washington Redskins defensive end Jason Hatcher debated whether or not to have surgery. At first, he wasn’t so sure: He was a new guy who had signed a big contract. Now he’s glad he did.
Hatcher was activated from the physically unable to perform list Saturday and went through his first practice of the summer, limited to individual drills. Hatcher underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in mid-June.
Hatcher could have opted against surgery, but then it would have required him to rehab it after every game.
“The bad outweighed the good,” Hatcher said. “And I’m very happy the way it’s responding, so I’ve got a little way to go. I’m very happy where I’m at right now.”
The Redskins are happy that he’s back on the field. They signed Hatcher to a four-year contract in free agency, hoping he provides the interior push that Washington has lacked the past two seasons. They want him to diversify their rush, complementing outside rushers Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo.
“He’s a dominant player,” Redskins coach Jay Gruden said of Hatcher. “He’ll be an added impact.”
Hatcher made progress during camp while rehabbing on a side field. But he said he’s still not 100 percent back with his game.
“My explosion is kind of there, but it’s one of those things that I’ve got to work through,” Hatcher said.
The plan is to work him back in slowly, getting him ready to play in the third preseason game against Baltimore. Then he hopes to reward Washington with the sort of season he had in 2013, when he recorded 11 sacks.
“Just my wisdom as a vet and getting after the quarterback,” Hatcher said. “Just making the quarterback uncomfortable. That’s one of the reasons why they brought me here, so I just have to continue to get after the quarterback.”
If that happens, and if his knee is not an issue, then all will be well. But Hatcher remembers what he was thinking when surgery was first being discussed.
“You’re kind of like, ‘I’m just getting here, you know?’" Hatcher said. “What are my teammates going to think? What are the GM and owner going to think? It was a hard decision, but I’m very happy I did it.”