A year ago, in December 2005, Randy Thomas was carted off FedExField with a fractured fibula that would require a lengthy rehab.
Thomas's hard work paid off and the veteran right tackle returned to have a strong season in 2006.
Last week, Thomas was named The Quarterback Club Redskins Player of the Year. This week, he was named the Redskins' winner of the Ed Block Courage Award, given to the player who has persevered to come back from injury.
Thomas's return was anything but certain last summer. He had missed most off-season work with the team while rehabbing the injury. He called it his "hardest offseason" since entering the NFL in 1999.
"There were some real challenges," Thomas said earlier this season. "But like I've always said, 'You go through hard things to get better things.' Hopefully, it's made me better this year."
Thomas has helped anchor an offensive line that has been dominant in the ground game. The Redskins' offense is ranked fifth in the NFL in rushing offense, with Ladell Betts leading the way in recent weeks. Betts has 933 yards on 196 carries, an impressive 4.8 yards-per-carry average.
Meantime, Redskins quarterbacks have been sacked just 18 times this season. That's the fourth best mark in the league.
The Ed Block Courage Award is given out each year by all 32 NFL teams in recognition of players who exhibit persistence in battling back from injury to resume their playing careers. Recipients also need to be solid citizens in their respective communities.
Past Redskins winners have included Khary Campbell, Brandon Noble, Fred Smoot and Chris Samuels. All winners are honored at a banquet in the Baltimore area on March 15, 2007. The affair brings together all 32 winners and reflects upon the career of Block, the long-time Baltimore athletic trainer.
Campbell joins a group of 2006 Ed Block Courage Award winners that includes center Matt Birk of the Minnesota Vikings, defensive end Jerome McDougle of Philadelphia, defensive end-linebacker Jorge Cordova of Jacksonville, linebacker Kailee Wong of Cincinnati and running back Deuce McAllister of the New Orleans Saints. More NFL teams will announce their Ed Block winners in the coming weeks.
The inaugural Ed Block Courage Award was presented in 1978 to Baltimore Colts defensive end Joe Ehrmann. Since then, the scope of the Ed Block Courage Award has expanded to include every team in the NFL.
The award is named after Ed Block, the former head athletic trainer of the Baltimore Colts for 23 years. Block was a pioneer in his profession and a respected humanitarian whose most passionate cause was helping children of abuse.
All proceeds from the event in March benefit the Foundation's Courage House National Support Network.
-- SUISHAM IMPRESSES
#### -- JANSEN UPDATE
Right tackle Jon Jansen remains "week-to-week" as he continues to rest a lingering calf injury, Joe Gibbs said. Jansen did not make the trip to New Orleans and he sat out the 16-10 win against the Saints.
Jansen has played with the calf injury for several weeks, and team officials said it was getting progressively worse.
"Everyone on our medical team felt we had gone about as far as we could go with it," Joe Gibbs said of Jansen playing through the injury. "We tried to rest him the first part of last week and see if the swelling would go down. We left him at home and we tried to give him a lot of treatment."
Jansen's status for this Sunday's game against the St. Louis Rams will "depend on how he feels toward the end of this week," Gibbs said.
If Jansen cannot play, then veteran lineman Todd Wade would start in his place for the second game in a row.