Bid to make 'Skins slowed for Lumsden

Hip injury could hurt chance at roster spot

August 26, 2006|By Don Markus | Don Markus,Sun reporter

ASHBURN, Va. -- Back home in Canada, Jesse Lumsden was a big name. As a senior at McMaster University outside Toronto two years ago, Lumsden won the Hec Crighton Trophy, the country's version of the Heisman Trophy. His father, Neil, had a long career in the Canadian Football League and played on three championship Grey Cup teams with the Edmonton Eskimos.

At Redskins Park, Jesse Lumsden is just another long shot trying to make an NFL team. Tonight, when the Redskins play the New England Patriots in Foxboro, Mass., in the third of four preseason games, Lumsden could be getting his last shot in what has been a mostly frustrating preseason.

After he impressed the coaches early in training camp, a hip injury kept the 6-foot-2, 220-pound running back on the sideline for more than a week and out of the first preseason game. Lumsden played in last week's 27-14 loss to the New York Jets, mostly on special teams, but did little to distinguish himself.

"I kept a mindset when I came into camp to control and only focus on what I can control," Lumsden, 24, said recently. "Like how hard I worked, how hard I studied, how I take care of myself, how I ate, that was it. I was going to let everything else fall into place."

Things seemed to be falling nicely for Lumsden early in training camp. He scored a 12-yard touchdown run in a scrimmage against the Ravens at FedEx Field three weeks ago, and was singled out afterward for his performance there and at practice by coach Joe Gibbs.

Then came the injury.

"I hate it, I hate watching," Lumsden said recently, shortly before returning to the field. "I love being able to compete. I just want to be back on the field, but I want to be healthy if I'm back on the field. I want to make sure I can go 100 percent and compete."

Lumsden carried the ball once in the fourth quarter, for 6 yards against the Jets. The special teams unit was a mess, giving up a 47-yard kickoff return to start the game and an 87-yard return for a touchdown by Jets rookie Leon Washington.

Lumsden's hopes of making the team became tougher when he got hurt, but there seemed to be a glimmer when Gibbs mentioned recently that the team would likely carry an extra running back after Clinton Portis dislocated his left shoulder against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Those chances again became clouded when the Redskins traded for T.J. Duckett, acquiring the short-yardage specialist who scored eight touchdowns last season for the Atlanta Falcons. That could likely push Rock Cartwright back to fourth string when Portis returns, and leaves Lumsden fighting for the fifth spot.

This isn't a completely new experience for Lumsden.

Lumsden went deep into the preseason with the Seahawks last summer before getting cut, played with the hometown Hamilton Tiger Cats last season and then signed with the Redskins as a free agent. He could always go back to Canada if he gets cut again.

The memories of last summer are still pushing Lumsden.

"That was an excellent learning experience," he said. "I matured a lot as a person and as a football player. I learned, unfortunately, what the hard side of the football business is, but at least I learned it early. It made me more determined to come back."

don.markus@baltsun.com

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