RICHMOND, Va. -- The Washington Redskins removed defensive end Jason Hatcher from the physically unable to perform list after he passed a physical, clearing the way for his return to the field Saturday.
Hatcher had been working on the side fields during training camp while recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in mid-June. At the time, the Redskins said it would take four to six weeks for him to recover, which would have meant a return early in camp.
Redskins coach Jay Gruden said his goal is for Hatcher to play in the third preseason game against Baltimore, giving him one outing with the rest of the defensive starters. Hatcher practiced with the team Saturday.
The Redskins signed Hatcher, 32, to help provide an interior pass rush after he recorded 11 sacks a year ago in Dallas while rushing primarily from the inside. Washington hasn't received much push from their interior the past two seasons.
Though he'll also play end in the Redskins' 3-4 front, he'll move inside when they play nickel, as they did approximately 65-70 percent of the time in 2013. He'll be a crucial part of their "fast" nickel, which also inserts rookie linebacker Trent Murphy to go along with outside linebackers Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan.
The Redskins also released cornerback Peyton Thompson, who struggled mightily in the preseason opener against New England. They signed safety Da'Mon Cromartie-Smith, who appeared in 10 games with Pittsburgh between 2010-13, while also serving time on the Steelers' practice squad.