RICHMOND, Va. (CBSDC) – The Redskins signed defensive end Jason Hatcher to rush the quarterback and he is finally moving closer to that goal.

Hatcher returned to the practice field on Saturday, seven weeks after left knee surgery. He was removed from the physically unable to perform (PUP) list.

Hatcher only appeared for a limited time during individual drills and must work his way back into team drills. But the goal is still to have him ready for the Aug. 18 preseason game against the Cleveland Browns.

“It seems like it’s been forever since I’ve been on the field,” Hatcher said. “Today I was actually able to do some stuff – not taking reps right now, but just kind of working my way through individuals and taking it day by day.”

Hatcher hopes to take live repetitions next week in preparation for the Browns game. Redskins coach Jay Gruden took a more cautious approach and said it was possible Hatcher would be held out until the fourth preseason game on Aug. 28 at Tampa Bay.

Hatcher, 32, was signed away from the Dallas Cowboys during the off for one primary purpose: To rush the quarterback. But that came at a cost – four years, $27.5 million. Hatcher finished with 11 sacks last season. They need him on the field to produce.

“My explosion is kind of there, but it’s one of those things that I’ve got to work through getting a 300-pound human being laying on me and see how I respond from there,” Hatcher said. “So it’s one of those things I’ve got to work through.”

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