ASHBURN, Va. — No veteran was more excited than Brian Orakpo to be sweating under the scorching late spring sun Thursday at Redskins Park.
Orakpo’s fourth year was cut short in Week 2 by a season-ending injury to his left pectoral muscle, the third injury to that area of his body in nine months.
“I feel fresh,” Orakpo said after the sixth out of nine organized team activity sessions. “I feel great. I’m 100 percent. They’re not holding me back. I’m out here doing my thing. It (stinks) to miss a year, but when you miss a year, you get to rejuvenate your body, let everything else that was nagging you heal up (too). It’s kind of a gift and curse.”
A Pro Bowl outside linebacker during his first two seasons, Orakpo, 26, isn’t worried about yet another injury.
“It was a different ligament in the pec,” he said. “For example, if you have a knee injury, you have all types of ligaments — MCL, ACL, PCL. I basically hurt some different ligament in the pec. It was just a freak accident. Maybe I was overcompensating from the first time I hurt it and that ligament in particular tore off the bone.”
While Rob Jackson filled in nicely for Orakpo, he recorded just four and a half sacks, less than half his predecessor’s average from 2009-11.
“You’re always hoping that it’s healed the right way,” said Washington coach Mike Shanahan. “So far, he looks very good. The strength is there. . If you can’t put pressure on the quarterback, the chances of you being a top five defense aren’t very good.”
The Redskins dropped from 13th to 28th on defense in Orakpo’s absence last season while rallying to win their final seven games and their first NFC East title since 1999.
“I gave myself about a month (to sulk),” said Orakpo, who endured 4-12, 6-10 and 5-11 records during his first three years. “I was happy for the guys. The offense was rolling. We hadn’t had an offense like that ever since I’ve been here. That’s why I was kicking myself that I wasn’t able to play with (Rookie of the Year Robert Griffin III) and (record-setting running back Alfred Morris) and the rest of the guys.”
As to whether he’ll be playing for the Redskins beyond this season since he’s unsigned beyond 2013, Orakpo wants to stay put.
“I would love to be a Redskins for life,” Orakpo said. “As long as both sides take care of our business, that shouldn’t be a problem. The coaches know what I mean to this organization. We’re going to let things take care of (themselves). I’m all about football. I’ll let my agents handle that.”
Notes: Offensive lineman Maurice Hurt, who started eight games as a rookie in 2011 and one last season, had arthroscopic knee surgery on Thursday. … Reserve safety Jordan Pugh is out this week with an ear infection. … Defensive end Adam Carriker continues to rehab the inflamed tendon that connects the quadriceps to the knee in his right leg. Shanahan expects Hurt and Carriker, who missed the final 14 games of 2012 with the quadriceps injury, back for training camp.
Follow 106.7 The Fan on Twitter.
(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)