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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Football Team will be without one of its most important offseason additions for at least the first three weeks of the season. Head coach Ron Rivera announced on Friday that wide receiver Curtis Samuel will be placed on injured reserve

New league rules allow players to return from short-term IR after three weeks, but Samuel will at minimum be out for the team's games against the Los Angeles Chargers, New York Giants, and Buffalo Bills. Once those three weeks are up, the team has 21 more days to activate him for a game. 

Rivera said the idea behind placing Samuel on IR is to let him continue rehabbing the groin injury that plagued him throughout the team's offseason program, and acted up again earlier this week. Samuel, who signed a three-year, $34.5 million contract with Washington this offseason, spent the first four years of his career with the Carolina Panthers. The first three of those seasons were spent under Rivera, and Washington offensive coordinator Scott Turner had a stint as the team's play-caller as well. 

He was expected to fill a role as the team's primary slot wideout this season, but a groin injury early in minicamp kept him out for most of the summer. In his absence, Adam Humphries is likely to take over slot snaps, while Cam Sims and rookie Dyami Brown should get more work on the perimeter. Terry McLaurin remains the No. 1 target for new quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was brought in to upgrade the team's quarterback play while it looks for a longer-term answer under center. 

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