Signed by the Redskins on Monday, the 35-year-old Cullen Jenkins will provide the defensive unit an experienced leader capable of playing multiple positions on the defensive line.
With the sweat still dripping down his face after his first practice with the Washington Redskins, Cullen Jenkins smiled with each question presented to him by reporters.
The Washington Redskins on Monday announced the signing of veteran defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins. Take a look at his career in photos.
At 35 years old and the regular season only two weeks away, Jenkins wasn't sure if he'd get a call from a NFL team this season.
Then the Redskins stepped in and offered him a workout on Monday morning. Shortly after, it was a contract presented to him.
"You sit around and at the beginning of training camp, it's kind of a relief because you sit there and see all the guys and training camps are the worst part of the year, but after a week or two you start to get a little anxious and nervous," Jenkins said. "And you're like 'Alright, now I want to play some football, I need to be somewhere.' You know the later it gets, the worse the chances start to become. You know, we'll see."
Jenkins originally entered the NFL as a college free agent in 2003, grabbing on with the Green Bay Packers.
Starting with the 2004 season and extending into his time with the New York Giants last season, Jenkins has been consistent in his play.
For his career, Jenkins has started all 16 regular season games eight times. He's collected 332 tackles with 47.5 sacks and eight forced fumbles. Last season, he started 13 games at 34 years old and collected three sacks.
"I've been around the game long enough to know how it goes," Jenkins said. "For me, it's just always about continuing to challenge myself, push myself and I love the game of football, love to play. As long as I keep pushing myself and trying to improve, I'm confident."
Jenkins will also get a little bit of a boost from the fact he's facing all three of his former teams this season in the Packers, Giants and Philadelphia Eagles.
"It definitely leaves a little more motivation because you're going against teams that you used to be a part of, that didn't bring you back for whatever reason," Jenkins said. "It's a little more fire in that."
While it's unclear just yet how the Redskins will incorporate Jenkins into the defensive line rotation, head coach Jay Gruden plans to tap into his ability to play multiple positions.
"He's played three-technique, he's played nose [tackle], he's played the 'four', he's played the 'five,'" Gruden said. "He's played a little bit of everything in his career. He's in good shape. We worked him out today. We wanted to see in what kind of shape he was, what type of body he had right now. He looked like he was good. He moved around good. Got to get his legs back under him out here at practice, get a good look at him, and we'll make a decision. But to add a veteran player of that caliber I think is a good thing."
As for the grey beard he's sporting, that just shows he's already been around the block. He also has a Super Bowl ring to showcase for his efforts.
"This is wisdom, experience, you see I don't dye it and I embrace it," Jenkins said with a smile. "It's a blessing to have been around this game as long as I have been and it's just still fun."