WASHINGTON — Redskins veteran DeAngelo Hall is ready to prove himself all over again, again.
At 33 years old, Hall is coming off a torn ACL in his right knee which caused him to miss all but three games in 2016. He also missed five games the previous season with a sprained big toe, and 13 games in 2014 with a torn left Achilles tendon. The repeated injuries have halted what was supposed to be a natural — and career-extending — transition by Hall from cornerback to safety.
New Redskins defensive coordinator Greg Manusky, who was promoted from linebackers coach this offseason to replace the fired Joe Barry, offered Hall the reassurance he was seeking last month, welcoming Hall’s return so the organization can “see what he has left.”
“It’s definitely nice to hear that,” Hall told Chad Dukes on 106.7 The Fan. “Because sometimes you think, ‘Man, I’ve been hurt a couple years. Do they still want me? Can I still do it?’ I feel like I can, but at the same time, I feel like I need to show my worth and I need to prove that I can stay healthy and help this team make plays.”
“Because it’s almost discouraging, to myself and the organization, to see me make so many plays in OTAs and camp, and kind of have all these expectations and get to the season and get hurt,” he said. “For me, it’s about proving that I can stay healthy and I can make plays.”
Over the offseason, Hall says he spoke frequently with recently retired and sure-fire Hall of Fame defensive back Charles Woodson. Woodson, who hung up the cleats after his age 39 season in 2015, assured Hall he shouldn’t let age hold him back.
“He’s telling me, ‘Look man, you’re 33 years old. I won Defensive Player of the Year at 34. Like, you’ve got a lot more football in you, I can see it,'” Hall recalled one conversation. “It’s definitely encouraging to hear people say that, but you want to go out there and play. You want to go out there and play, you want to go help your team win games and make plays and as much of a vocal leader as I am, there’s only so far your words can go. You gotta go out there and you gotta prove it, and so I’m ready to go out there and prove it.”
When the Redskins fired Scot McCloughan last month, taking swipes at the organization, as several departing Redskins did, was once again in vogue as front office chaos took center stage at the start of free agency. Hall was one of the few to rush to team president Bruce Allen’s defense.
“I still support Bruce Allen and this organization 100 percent,” Hall said Tuesday, when asked how to avoid the drama. “I think the way you get around it is at the end of the day, no matter what I say, no matter what I believe, no matter what I want to happen, those guys in the front office get paid for a reason and so they’ll make all those decisions.
“It doesn’t matter if I say ‘yay/nay… I want this guy. I don’t want this guy. Fire this guy.’ It doesn’t matter. They are going to do what they feel is in the best interest of the organization. And so, for me, I know the relationship I have with Bruce and the trust I have in him as a person and as a front office guy, that for me to say, ‘Hey, I’m behind Bruce Allen 100 percent,’ I know how much he loves this team and how much he grew up a huge Redskins fan, and he wants this team to do nothing but succeed, the same thing with Dan Snyder, our owner.”
“I felt like I needed to say that,” Hall said. “And then I felt like I followed up by saying, ‘Hey, I love Scot as well.’ Scot was a great guy. I don’t know him as well. I’ve only been around Scot a short period of time, but the short period of time I was around him, I enjoyed our conversations about football, about life. And I had nothing bad to say about Scot as well.”
“I hate the way it worked out,” he said. “But I don’t know everything that happened behind closed doors, so I can’t really speak on that situation. You know what I mean? I can only say, ‘Hey, my experiences with Bruce have been great. I love him, I support him. Scot, I love him as well. I support him. I wish him nothing but the best.’ And kind of keep it moving, and that’s essentially what I did. I didn’t go into any more details. I didn’t do interview requests, like I received, because I didn’t know enough about the situation to even speak on it.”
Hall, just like many fans of the team, hopes the Redskins are finally able to reach that elusive long-term agreement with quarterback Kirk Cousins before the July 15 deadline.
“I think we’re all hopeful that that happens,” he said. “Because when that happens, you tend to feel like it is a marriage and not just ‘we’re dating,’ you know what I mean? I know Kirk wants it. I feel like the organization wants it. I know we as players want him as a teammate and so we’re all optimistic and hopeful that we can get it done and Kirk can be our quarterback for years to come.”
Hall also described Manusky as possessing otherworldly energy: “You could just tell the energy he had. Not saying anything was bad about Joe B, but Manusky’s energy was just out of this world. He’s a former player, so he kind of has just that fiery personality that makes you want to rally behind him and get behind him.”
“I don’t know exactly how he’s gonna call defenses, and how he’s gonna call games and things like that, but just kind of watching his body of work as a coordinator, I’m excited,” he said.
“I’m excited to hear him call plays and kind of see what he’s thinking through the course of training camps and OTAs, and see kind of mentally what calls he likes, and where he feels like we need to improve and what he can kind of bring to the table to help us improve.”