When Brian Orakpo suffered a torn left pectoral muscle in mid-September it took him nearly a month to come to terms with the devastating injury that prematurely ended his fourth year in the league just two weeks into the season.
Eight months into his rehab, the Washington Redskins outside linebacker said he is fully healed and ready to play at the same level he exhibited when earning consecutive Pro Bowl appearances in 2010 and 2011.
“I'm 100 percent, my body is feeling even better than what it was before as far as conditioning and strength-wise,” Orakpo told CSN Washington. “When you get hurt, you get to work on all the little muscles that you have a tendency to (overlook). It was a freak accident, it's nothing you can control.”
The Redskins lost their top outside speed rusher when Orakpo went out with the injury in a Week 2 loss to the Rams last season. Orakpo (6-4, 257) recorded 28.5 sacks over his first three seasons, including nine in 2011 when he also forced three fumbles. In 2011, Orakpo also forced 43 quarterback hurries -- third among all 3-4 outside linebackers, according to Pro Football Focus. Orakpo registered more hurries in 2011 than both Clay Matthews and Tamba Hali.
With Orakpo sidelined by the injury, the Redskins finished the regular season ranked 28th in sacks per pass attempt. The Redskins' pass rush improved late in the season, as Jim Haslett's defense notched 11 sacks over their final four games. Until that point, the Redskins had one sack or fewer in six of their first 12 contests.
Orakpo initially suffered the pectoral injury in a season-ending loss to the Eagles at the end of the 2011 regular season. The former University of Texas defensive end experienced a setback last August in a preseason loss to the Bears, but tests showed that he avoided a full pectoral tear. Orakpo is unsure if he will be a full-participant in Redskins' OTAs that begin in late-May.
Orakpo, the No. 13 pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, is entering the final season of his five-year, $15.4 million rookie contract.
“I'm ready to wreak havoc,” Orakpo told CSN Washington. “I'm ready to get my crown back as far as putting hell to these quarterbacks in the NFC East and all over the NFL.”
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