WASHINGTON — There was a long period of time when DeAngelo Hall was not just the Washington Redskins’ top cornerback, but one of the best in the NFL.
Those days could well be behind him, as injuries have derailed each of the last four seasons. After starting 67-straight games between 2009 and 2013, Hall has played only 22 games in the last four seasons.
“It’s been hard on D-Hall, for as productive of a player as he’s been in the past,” head coach Jay Gruden acknowledged on Thursday. “Coming off of this injury and then moving positions, not really getting the reps that you need to play that position when it’s new. That’s been difficult for him.”
But before anyone begrudges the $13.9 million he has cost the team in the last four seasons, understand that Hall’s influence extends well beyond the playing field.
“He’s been excellent as far as being a leader in the locker room and the defensive backs room, showing guys how to prepare and what to work on,” Gruden said. “He’s been a guy that younger guys look up to and it’s just been a treat having him around.
“I’m glad he’s here even if it hasn’t been productive for us, but he’s been very good in other realms of pro football.”
Hall’s contract ends at season’s end, and it’s yet unclear if he wants to return, and in what capacity. In an interview with the Washington Post, Hall verbally considered literally everything from a part-time role in D.C. to a full-time role elsewhere, serving as a broadcaster, or joining the front office and eventually becoming an NFL general manager.
“I don’t know,” he repeated several times throughout the interview. “I don’t know.”
But he does know is that role clarity will be important. He discussed his frustration with spending the week on the scout team and then starting on Sunday. Last week, he was deactivated before the game in favor of Fish Smithson, a player who spent most of the season on the practice squad.
“I would like to just go in, fight for a spot and if it’s my spot, it’s my spot. I’m the starter, and that’s that,” Hall explained. “Not subbing in and out with guys. I don’t have time for that.
“We shall see. I’m going to go to a great situation. I’m going to go to a situation where I feel like I can help a team win.”