It seems hard to believe that cornerback Ade Jimoh is entering his fourth season with the Redskins. Among players on the current roster, only nine have been with the team longer than Jimoh.
Jimoh, a restricted free agent this offseason, signed his one-year tender offer on Friday, the team announced.
By signing the tender, Jimoh has decided not to field offers from other teams. He could have waited to sign his offer sheet until the restricted free agency deadline on April 21.
Jimoh is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in 2007.
Since signing on with the Redskins in April 2003 as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Utah State, Jimoh has worked to improve his game, both on special teams and as a reserve cornerback.
The upcoming season could be a big one for Jimoh's career.
With cornerbacks Shawn Springs and Carlos Rogers expected to start in Gregg Williams' defense next season, Jimoh is currently the third cornerback, ahead of young players Christian Morton and Dimitri Patterson.
"Every season is a big season and every time you have an opportunity to play, it's a big opportunity," Jimoh said. "You have to do everything you can to the best of your abilities."
Head coach Joe Gibbs said earlier in March that the team is looking to add depth at cornerback behind Springs and Rogers.
"I think you're always looking for cornerback help, but I don't think we feel any real pressure [to add another player] there," Gibbs said.
In the meantime, the window is open for Jimoh to secure a larger role in the Redskins' secondary.
Jimoh played in 16 games as a rookie in 2003 and struggled at times against NFL competition. He showed improvement a year later while establishing himself on special teams.
Last season, Jimoh saw playing time at nickel and dime cornerback as Springs, Rogers and Harris battled through injuries. He logged 10 tackles (nine solo) and three passes defended. Jimoh also had 20 special teams tackles, fourth-best on the team.
Jimoh was a presence on special teams in the Redskins' season-ending loss to Seattle in the Divisional Playoffs, recording three special teams tackles and forcing a fumble on a jarring tackle of Seahawks' punt returner Jimmy Williams.
"I know I have improved," Jimoh said. "If you're not constantly getting better, there's something wrong with that. The Lord has blessed me with the ability to learn and take criticism and use it constructively, and I've been using it to get better."
Confidence is key for any cornerback. So is the ability to take criticism after a bad play. It's how players respond to that criticism that is important, Jimoh says.
"For a cornerback, you have to be able to process [the criticism] and implement it into your game," he said. "You want to feed off of it and get better. Some of it you have to be able to tune out, too, because if you listen to everything, you might go crazy."