Former Mountaineer lineman back as Redskins’ nose tackle
RICHMOND Va.— A torn knee ligament kept Chris Neild from improving on his rookie season with the Washington Redskins.
[cleeng_content id="752636565" description="Read it now!" price="0.49" t="article"]The one-time West Virginia University nose tackle had been a seventh round draft choice of the Redskins in April of 2011 after his bowl-laden career with the Mountaineers.
After making it through the final summer cuts at Ashburn, Neild was on Washington’s regular season roster. He played in the 2011 season opener against Eli Manning and the New York Giants. In Washington’s win, Neild was credited with 1.5 sacks against Manning. He went on to play in all 16 regular season games, and was one of only two NFL rookies to do so.
For the season, the 6-foot-2, 325-pound force was credited with 10 tackles and two sacks as a non-starter.
When another summer training camp came around in 2012, Neild found himself in much the same situation. He was effective enough in the first weeks of camp to make the final Washington roster, but he was not going to be a starter.
But in mid-August he was injured. Seriously injured. He suffered a torn knee ligament, and after undergoing major surgery he was placed on injured reserve. By rule, players on injured reserve can’t return for any part of the seaon.
While rehabilitating his knee, Neild had to watch the team as it moved to the playoffs behind quarterback Robert Griffin III and a usually reliable defense.
Now Neild is back in training camp and listed as the second-team nose tackle on a four-deep chart.
His knee has been fine. His play has also been acceptable.
Should he stay away from more injury problems, the former Mountaineer is expected to play more than he did as a rookie.
Last winter, even though he couldn’t play, Neild was a part of the Redskins 80th Anniversary “Thank You Tour” that made stops in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.
He also joined with a radio station and Washington area Marines to help deliver “Touchdown for Tots” and “Skins Santa Shoppe” toys and merchandise to underprivileged children.
Even though he isn’t a star or even a starter, anybody who has a nodding acquaintance with the Redskins can recognize the very large man with the shaved head because of his wide brown beard.
No hair on top. A dark beard about 18 inches across and at least 10 inches long. Weighs 325. Stands 6-foot-5.
Neild is easy to spot and easy to remember.
His fans sport plastered-on beards at Washington’s home games.
If he can remain healthy this season, Neild at age 25 could continue to learn the ways of the league. And he could get more playing time while “greeting” Eli Manning again.