RICHMOND -- Jamison Crowder didn't participate for a third straight practice session Monday because of a right hamstring injury. The Washington Redskins starting slot receiver has already been ruled out of Thursday's preseason opener at Atlanta.
It might seem like training camp deja vu all over again for second-year player, but Crowder isn't freaking out about the injury, this time. He went through this scenario last year when a left hamstring issue kept him out of the first two preseason games.
Before he returned from that injury and before the games turned real, Crowder felt the anxiety. The fourth round pick let his mind wander about the fact that he couldn't run for coaches still trying to figure him out.
"Last year it was tough. To that point I hadn't really shown anything," Crowder said of the unwanted down time to Breaking Burgundy. "Obviously being out, I couldn't really show my talent."
Eventually, he did that and then some. Crowder caught 59 passes for 604 yards and two touchdowns during his rookie season while turning into a reliable chain-moving target for quarterback Kirk Cousins.
The production and the experience is helping Crowder cope this time. That and the belief the injury isn't as severe, though it's unclear when he'll return.
"It's not as bad as last year, but they want to want make sure I'm healthy not just for the first game, but I'm not rushing back and making things worse," he said.
Overall, Crowder said of the hamstring after doing some side work, "I feel pretty good. I came out today and felt good. My (right) hammy kind of tightened up on me the other day. They just want to take it slow before anything major happens. I feel alright, though."
That he suffered a similar injury in consecutive years is more annoying than concerning for now.
"During camp, especially with me being a receiver, I do a lot of running, obviously, run a lot of routes,"Crowder explained. "It just gets a little fatigued."
The 5-foot-8 target appears set for a larger role this season once he returns.
"He is just a very mature kid for his age," Redskins coach Jay Gruden said of Crowder earlier in camp. "That’s the only way I can explain [the immediate production]."
Now that he has one year of NFL life on his resume, Crowder believes he's poised for more.
"I just feel like getting a year of experience helps with my overall game as far as route running, reading coverages, being comfortable with the playbook, the offense," he said.
Being comfortable with the current injury situation also stems from that previous experience. Therefore perhaps 2015's hamstring woes were some kind of blessing in disguise based on 2016's lower levels of anxiety despite another round watching rather than playing. That doesn't mean anybody would wish a similar fate in 2017. That trifecta would bring a different wave of nerves.
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