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A welcome return

John Keim, The Examiner

Laughter filled the locker room, as did the chatter that’s usually heard on a daily basis. Just not in the past week. Not here.

So, as life returned to normal, the topic of conversation slowly turned from Sean Taylor’s death to football.

And the Redskins finally received some good on-field news. Right guard Randy Thomas said he’ll likely play against Chicago on Thursday. Thomas hasn’t played since tearing the left triceps tendon in Week 2 against Philadelphia.

“As long as I can step on the field, it’s a definite in my eyes,” Thomas said. “It’s been a long time waiting. I’m very excited about it. It’s been tough sitting on the sidelines, but I have a chance to make a difference and I’m excited about it.

The Redskins could use Thomas back. The ground game has struggled most of the season with the Redskins averaging 3.9 yards per carry — 20th best in the NFL.

Last month, Portis rushed for a combined 333 yards in two games. But in the last three games, he’s managed 154 yards on 57 carries.

Thomas’ presence could help. If, that is, he can play up to his former standards.

“It depends on how Randy comes out and plays,” Portis said. “I can’t tell you that until I see him play. But knowing the excitement it is to have him back, it should help us out a lot.”

The Redskins have struggled with the run in part because they haven’t had their starting right side of the line since Week 1 when tackle Jon Jansen was hurt. With Thomas and Jansen out, the Redskins haven’t been able to use as much pulling action from that side of the line. Thomas’ athleticism helps in opening cutback lanes.

“That’s my hammer,” Redskins center Casey Rabach said. “He’s just a powerful guy. He really is. It doesn’t matter if it’s a run play or pass play, he’s really physical inside there. He doesn’t talk a whole lot in there, but you tell him to do something and he’ll get the job done.”

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We are going nowhere. I honestly would rather have him rest up and stay healthy so we can make a run next year. I mean what if he goes out Thursday and tears up his knee and will miss most of next year?? We are a 5-7 team that must win out just to have a shot at the playoffs. At this point, I would rather have the big guy healthy and hungry for next season.

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