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Redskins looking for running backs as training camp gets under way

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ASHBURN, Va. -- The Washington Redskins got good news on a handful of key players who nursed injuries through the offseason at the opening of training camp Thursday, but have continued to mull adding a running back in internal meetings, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

Specifically, the Redskins have discussed free-agent backs Cedric Benson and Ryan Grant, and could take a look at one depending on the health at the position. Tim Hightower, the starter in 2011 at the time he tore his ACL, remains somewhat limited, coach Mike Shanahan said, while Roy Helu was back at full speed and taking most of the reps with the starters in practice at Redskins Park.

Helu and Hightower both have a history of injuries as well, which has given rise to the personnel discussions surrounding Benson and Grant. Shanahan said the staff is trying to manage Hightower through to Week 1, hoping he doesn't push too hard "We don't want him to overdo it," Shanahan said, and the coach is unsure if he will have a feature back or go more by committee.

Oakland and the Jets are among other teams evaluating the free-agent running back market.

The Redskins also got good news as receivers Leonard Hankerson (hip) and Josh Morgan (ankle) were finally able to take part in full-team drills. However, projected starting right tackle Jammal Brown was injured again -- this time his hip -- and placed on PUP. Tyler Polumbus, who has toggled between tackle and guard, would be the likely replacement and he worked with the starters today.

"He's made some tremendous strides," Shanahan said.

Camp Rumblings

Tight end Chris Cooley looks mobile and healthy after some injury problems the past few years and told me he dropped 20 pounds as well, looking to add more speed.

  It did not go unnoticed last week around here when Shanahan was attending a celebrity golf event in Nevada and not around for the rookie camp taking place. His staff lost a week of vacation due to the participation in the Senior Bowl, then Shanahan changed the summer schedule to bring them back a week early for a rookie camp, wanting more time to work with second overall pick Robert Griffin III. However, as rookies did strength work and attended meetings and met with coaches last week, the head coach was not around.

  There has been no real movement on an extension for defensive coordinator Jim Haslett, league sources said, as he enters the final year of his deal. Some in the organization believe that new secondary coach Raheem Morris, a close friend of offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, and former head coach of Tampa Bay, could end up in that position in 2013 depending on how this season goes.

  Safety Tennard Jackson, an offseason signing, is on the PUP list.


Before joining CBS Sports, Jason La Canfora was the Washington Redskins beat writer for The Washington Post for six years and served as NFL Network's insider. The Baltimore native can be seen every Sunday during the season on The NFL Today.
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