ASHBURN, Va. (CBSDC) — Chris Neild’s second NFL season ended before it began.
The nose tackle will miss the entire 2012 season after tearing the ACL in his left knee during Monday afternoon’s practice. Mike Shanahan made the announcement to the media on Tuesday afternoon.
“Unfortunately, he’s gone for the season,” Shanahan said. “Chris is a fighter. It’s just a temporary setback for him.”
One of the last players drafted in the seventh round a year ago, Neild made the Redskins’ 53-man roster and played in all 16 of the team’s games in his first NFL season.
The 325-pound nose tackle became an instant fan favorite after delivering a 1.5 sack week-one performance against the New York Giants in Washington’s season-opening win. But Neild — who had just a half sack in the Redskins’ final 15 games — isn’t paid to sack quarterbacks. His primary responsibility was to serve as a stout run-stuffer who could attract double teams.
Intrenched in the middle of a training camp competition with fellow defensive lineman Chris Baker, Neild was trying to prove himself worthy of another season as part of Washington’s defensive line rotation. The Redskins will now have to move on without the 325-pound defender.
Neild, 24, made 10 tackles and tallied two sacks as a rookie.
Baker will now serve as Barry Cofield’s primary backup at nose tackle in non-nickel situations. Adam Carriker, Stephen Bowen, Jarvis Jenkins and Kedric Golston will anchor the end positions, likely making up the rest of the Redskins’ six-man defensive line rotation.
Shanahan suggested that Neild’s recovery could take six months.
“We believe the meniscus was fine, it was strictly an ACL [tear],” Shanahan said. “It’s always disappointing when there’s a season ending injury. But we know these things are going to occur. We happen they don’t happen too often.”