Jarvis Jenkins back from suspension

The Washington Redskins had plenty of issues that led to their season-opening three-game losing streak.

Defensive end Jarvis Jenkins added one more reason to the list -- his own absence.

"I feel like I had something to do with us losing," said Jenkins, who returned from his NFL-mandated four-game suspension Tuesday. "I made a dumb mistake. It hurt our team."

Jenkins, Washington's starting left defensive end when training camp opened, and reserve linebacker Rob Jackson, whose four-game suspension also ended, both practiced for the first time Tuesday. The Redskins have a bye Sunday, but Jenkins and Jackson will be able to play against the Dallas Cowboys on Oct. 13.

In Jenkins, the Redskins get a starter back who did well against the run in 2012. Jenkins learned how to occupy blockers, setting up the linebackers, and his athleticism and strength make him difficult to move.

It's difficult to pin the losses on Jenkins' absence, but he would have added an athletic body in Washington's nickel and base defenses.

"It was hard, man, it was like flashbacks when I hurt myself my rookie year," said Jenkins, who suffered a torn ACL two years ago. "But this time it was my mistake. I'm not going to make that mistake again. I paid my dues and I'm ready to play football."

To make room for Jenkins and Jackson, the team released defensive end Phillip Merling and kicker John Potter.

"They both look like they're in good shape," defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said of Jenkins and Jackson.

Jenkins tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug, which he said he bought over the counter, and had to stay away from Redskins Park. He could not have contact with the coaches.

"It was like, what am I doing? I never got in trouble, never hurt in college," Jenkins said. "Everything was new to me. But I put that negative behind me. I took all the positives out of it. I was still talking to the guys.

"It was good to know that even though I wasn't there, I was still in the loop, texting those guys, and that made it better."

Both players said they stayed in shape during the break. Jackson was able to work out at Redskins Park; Jenkins worked out at a local gym and spent some time at Clemson, where he played in college.

"It'll take a couple days, but I'll be ready for the Dallas game," Jenkins said. "I've got to come in and blend in right away. I can't be that weak link. I base my workouts on coming in and making an impact."