In the 2012 NFL preseason, Washington Redskins backup nose tackle Chris Neild tore his ACL and was forced to watch the entire 2012 regular season from the sidelines. His promising NFL career was put on hold, while the Redskins had to dig deeper down their depth chart to replace the loss. In 2013, Neild is perfectly healthy and ready to prove his worth.
“Injuries are bound to happen,” said Neild. “That’s just part of the game. You’ve got to be ready to step up and you’ve just got to play ball. I’ve got to step it up now.”
Originally drafted by the Redskins in the seventh round of the 2011 NFL draft with the 253rd overall pick, Neild is 25 years old, 6-foot-2, 325 pounds. Can anyone say MONSTER?
In 2011, Neild was only one of two rookies who made appearances in all 16 regular season games. At first, he came out strong registering three tackles and 1.5 sacks against the New York Giants in Week 1. After that, Neild played as a team player, filling in when he could. He finished the season with 10 tackles, four of them solo, with three tackles for a loss and two sacks.
Now Neild is healthy, ready for the 2013 regular season and positioned at the backup NT behind Barry Cofield. Cofield is currently injured after reportedly fracturing his right hand against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and although he is expected back by the regular season, Neild will have to fill the gap for the preseason at least.
“You never want to see somebody get injured, especially Barry,” said Neild. “He’s a heck of a nose tackle. But, I mean, you do the math; I’ve got to step it up. That’s what it is.”
Neild is a huge athlete and knows he will be expected to step it up. He is not bragging but rather modest of the ordeal. Don’t confuse that modesty for fear. Neild will prove his worth in 2013.