ASHBURN, Va. -- It's always entertaining to hear DeAngelo Hall talk about facing his old teams, even when he's not certain he'll get a chance to play.
Hall got so excited standing on the sidelines during the Washington Redskins' overtime loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday that he developed back spasms, another setback in his goal of returning to the field in time to play in this week's game against the Oakland Raiders.
"I probably should have been up in the suites relaxing, but I wanted to be down there with my teammates and encourage my guys on," said Hall, who had a sit in a chair to ease the strain on his back while meeting with reporters this week. "I found myself almost jumping up and down every play."
Hall has missed the last two games with a sprained right knee and hasn't been able to practice this week. The cornerback was healthy for his first revenge trip of the season when the Redskins visited Atlanta last month, a game in which Hall was involved in a sideline melee that ended up costing Falcons coach Mike Smith a $15,000 fine.
Now Hall was looking forward to a chance to show his stuff in front of owner Al Davis and coach Tom Cable of the Raiders, who released him last year only eight games into a new contract.
"Al Davis told me it salary cap issues," Hall said. "Coach Cable actually made the statement that they had somebody better behind me. So I kind of took a little offense to that, but I don't have any hard feelings toward Coach Cable, the organization. It was a great, great, great time for me there, the short period of time that I was there."
All sides agree that Hall wasn't the best fit for a Raiders defense that relies heavily on man-to-man coverage. If that's the case, Hall now wonders, why did Oakland give him a seven-year, $70 million contract in the first place? And, for that matter, why did he accept?
"As I've said before: Not all money is good money," Hall said. "I probably should have did my due diligence, but I was so eager to get out of Atlanta, I was so eager to get out of that place that I just ran to the first people who opened up their arms to me. ... It definitely wasn't my forte to go out there and play that particular style."
Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, who had expected to form a long-term shutdown tandem with Hall, said his former teammate didn't get enough time to adjust to Oakland's schemes.
"DeAngelo's a play-maker," Asomugha said. "He wants to be free to go out and make plays and do what he does best. When you come here, you have to understand that you're going to be in man-to-man 90 percent of the game. It was definitely something he wasn't used to. It took some adjusting for him, and he never really got that full chance to adjust to that change."
Hall landed in Washington within days of his departure from Oakland and impressed the Redskins enough that they gave him a $54 million, six-year deal in the offseason.
Thus, in a short period of time, Hall has become quite the expert on interesting NFL locales, having played in Atlanta during the Michael Vick dog fighting scandal before his brief time with Davis and the Raiders and move to owner Dan Snyder and the Redskins (3-9).
Compare and contrast?
"Night and day. Apples and oranges," Hall said. "To each person, whatever they prefer. I really hadn't experienced anything like what probably transpired in Atlanta more so than here. Here, it's been a little bit of controversy, but not much. It just comes with not winning football games.
"In Atlanta, you got scandals and all this other stuff. The Feds out there, PETA out there. In Oakland, you never know what's going to happen. Al Davis would come down there holding a press conference. Everybody's ready to go to work, and we see 30 news cameras out there. So it's a little bit different as far as those two situations go as opposed to here. Here it's just a product of not winning football games."
Coach Jim Zorn said Thursday that trainers are still trying to stabilize Hall's knee, making it sound unlikely that Hall will play Sunday. Hall is obviously hoping that's not the case.
"It'll be frustrating," Hall said. "It's so much harder being on the sidelines watching."
Especially when it causes back spasms.
DT Albert Haynesworth appears likely to miss his third game in four weeks with a sprained left ankle. Haynesworth reinjured the ankle in the New Orleans game and hasn't practiced this week. ... FB Mike Sellers (severe thigh bruise) has been ruled out for the game. ... OL Edwin Williams was excused from practice because of illness.