Redskins safety Tanard Jackson was originally signed as a free agent on April 13, but did not appear on a Redskins practice field until yesterday afternoon.
For Jackson, it was a satisfying step in his rehab process, but just the start of his uphill battle for a roster spot.
"Right from the bottom, that's how I like it," he said with a smile. "Obviously I missed three full days of camp and I'm behind, but I like working that way anyway."
Jackson was released by the Buccaneers this offseason, following an injury-plagued 2011. After rehabbing his shoulder and leg during the offseason, Jackson said he suffered a calf strain during OTA's.
"The calf injury was the first time in my career," he said. "But they wouldn't put me out there if they didn't think that I'd be able to do it."
Head coach Mike Shanahan knows the Jackson will need time to adjust to the 3-4 defense, but is pleased with Jackson's knowledge of the playbook.
"He's been there learning the defense," Shanahan said. "He's got some playing experience and I think he feels very comfortable with the defense."
With the first preseason game less than a week away, Jackson is looking to carve out playing time and get experience in the system.
But most of all, he's just happy to be back playing football.
"I'm just happy to be out there, getting my legs back under me," he said. "You know, first day out, felt good to be back out there."
"Most important thing: I didn't have too many mental errors. Gave up a deep ball early in practice, but you know, that comes with time."