Ever since Rock Cartwright was the Redskins' seventh round pick in the 2002 NFL Draft, he has played like he has something to prove.
Now, as Cartwright enters his seventh NFL campaign, he can look around and see that he's among the most recognized and popular of all Redskin players.
"It's a real blessing," said the 5-8, 218-pound running back and kick return specialist out of Kansas State. "I feel like I've already beaten the odds. "What's the life span [for running backs] in the NFL? Three years?"
Cartwright has exceeded that--and there's more to come.
He briefly ventured into free agency but that experiment didn't last long and on Saturday he re-signed with the Redskins.
"I tested the market," said the 29-year-old native of Conroe, Tex. "The Redskins still think I can come back and help them. That's what I plan to do."
He is a tireless worker and team leader. He has accepted his role--most recently as a kick returner and special teams standout--thoughout his career with the Redskins.
Last year, Cartwright returned 52 kickoffs for a 25.8-yard average, good enough for eighth-best in the NFL.
He also returned six kickoffs in the playoffs for a postseason-best 29.3-yard average.
Cartwright has moved into fourth place on the franchise's all-time kickoff return yardage list with 3,157 total yards.
Cartwright is also valuable on special teams, notching 34 tackles on punt and kick coverage units last season.
He didn't take a kickoff back for a TD in 2007, and Cartwright is hoping to make amends for that in the coming season.
"I plan to lose a little weight, to become more explosive on my returns," he said. "I'd like to get to around 210, 212."
Fresh off a six-day vacation to Jamaica with several of his teammates, Cartwright says he's anxious to learn more about new head coach Jim Zorn and running backs coach Stump Mitchell.
Naturally, he'd like to see more playing time at running back, although he's playing behind the talented Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts.
That he has a chance to maybe even finish his career with the team that drafted him sits well with Cartwright.
"I plan to go full speed on every play," he said.