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Dustin Hopkins Practices With Eye On Potential Late-Season Return


The fourth-year kicker returned to practice on Wednesday nearly two months after being placed on Injured Reserve with a hip injury. He could be activated before season's end.

Each day during practice sessions, Washington's specialists group together on the side of the field during individual drills as they work on their fundamentals just as the rest of their teammates do. Normally, this group comprises of three players: the punter, kicker and long snapper.

On Wednesday afternoon, though, Redskins punter Tress Way, long snapper Nick Sundberg and kicker Nick Rose were joined by a fourth person: kicker Dustin Hopkins.

Placed on Injured Reserve in October with a hip rotator muscle strain, Hopkins practiced for the first time in nearly two months, although it felt like nothing had changed for the 27-year-old.

"You know what's funny, I was thinking about it during the stretch today, how this – during the stretch – it felt like a normal day again," Hopkins told. "Even though eight weeks can be a long time in the nature of a season, it never felt normal not having a normal workout, if that makes any sense. Even though it was an extended period, today felt more normal even though I hadn't done it in eight weeks than every day of the past eight weeks."

Hopkins initially suffered his hip injury in Week 4 against the Kansas City Chiefs and tried to continue playing through the pain in Week 6 against the San Francisco 49ers before realizing that he needed time to heal.

Depending on how the Florida State product is feeling health-wise both with range of motion and timing going into the final three games of the season, he could be activated off Injured Reserve at any point after missing Washington's last eight games.

Check out behind the scenes images from Kicker, Dustin Hopkins's 2016 Redskins Photo Shoot.

In five games this season, Hopkins was 9-of-11 on field goal attempts along with converting on 12 of 12 extra point tries. He also averaged nearly 65 yards on 27 kickoffs with 20 touchbacks.

Hopkins' hope is to convert on enough kicks so that the Redskins will remain interested in re-signing the pending unrestricted free agent.

"Obviously I hate that it [happened] in the first place," Hopkins said. "But, it'll be good to get back out there and practice if nothing else and kick some balls again."

In Hopkins' place, the Redskins signed Rose to the active roster as the University of Texas product has made 10-of-11 field goal tries along with 18-of-20 extra points.  

"Nick's done a great job, testament to him coming in and taking care of business and from the first week, getting the timing right with these guys," Hopkins said. "He's done a great job. So, it's been good to see him just do really well for the team."

While Hopkins likes that the Redskins haven't missed a beat with Rose in the lineup, his ultimate goal is to win back the kicker job he's had for three seasons now.

"I've gotten to know Nick since he's been here and I wish him nothing but the best, but at the same time, obviously you want to keep your job and I enjoy it here," Hopkins said. "Tress and Nick [Sundberg] have done an awesome job for me my whole entire time here and I love this locker room. So, it's a weird dichotomy…wanting a guy to do well, but also wanting to keep you job, for sure." 

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