Whether Brandon Noble starts Sunday or not, it's remarkable that he's even playing pro football right now. Doctors told him his knee injury in August 2003 was the type that required a two-year period for a complete recovery.
Given Noble's lengthy rehabilitation, it's easy to forget that Noble will be making his regular season debut as a Redskin on Sunday. He'll team with Joe Salave'a at defensive tackle.
"I'm looking forward to playing," Noble said. "Joe and I will be rotating in and out. That's the nice thing about playing defensive line, you can rotate. It's not like playing offensive line where you're not going to get a rotation. They're going to let us play."
Not many players have been as dedicated as Noble was during the long rehab process.
"The knee is functional now and I can play with it," Noble said. "It's not nearly as strong yet as I'd like it to be. But that'll come."
Noble had 41 straight starts with the Dallas Cowboys before coming to Washington prior to the 2003 season. In Week 2 of preseason last year, Noble suffered a knee injury that required surgery and sidelined him for the entire 2003 campaign. He was cleared to practice with the team last June.
As Redskins fans are well aware, he spent all last season lifting weights, riding a stationary bicycle and trying to get his knee back to full strength. He worked with Larry Hess, the Redskins' physical therapist, to make it back to playing shape-all to do what he came to Washington, D.C., to do in the first place: help clog the middle of the Redskins defense and stop the run.
"I've been happy to be a Redskin," Noble said. "Now I just want to go out and show it."
Gibbs On Doug Williams
Joe Gibbs reflected on his former quarterback Doug Williams, who is now a personnel executive with the Tampa Bay organization, during Wednesday's media session:
"I think Doug is a great sports story. He was the first African-American quarterback picked that high, and to have some of the heartbreak he has had in his life, and then to turn around and become the MVP of the Super Bowl--it's a great story. I am proud of what he has done. He did an excellent job at Grambling and now he's with Tampa's organization."
Thomas's New 'Do
Randy Thomas took off his helmet as he walked off the field on Wednesday afternoon, revealing hair dyed in a gold color. When he addressed the media, a question about his new look wasn't immediately asked, but rest assured, it was asked.
Explanation? He's not telling.
"It's personal," he said with a sheepish smile.
Jersey # Update
It's official: James Thrash will wear No. 83. And in case you missed it, new linebacker Dominique Stevenson will wear jersey No. 51.