Josh LeRibeus is using the 2013 season as a teaching lesson he doesn't want to repeat.
Drafted by the Washington Redskins in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft, the former Southern Methodist offensive lineman appeared on track to play a significant role for the offense last season.
But, after reporting to training camp out of shape and then an injury subsequently followed before the regular season started, LeRiebus would remain inactive the entire regular season.
"It was kind of a crappy feeling," he admitted. "Yeah, you get prep the same way (if you were playing), but at the same time, I was kind of feeling useless."
LeRibeus appeared in six games as a rookie – two of which were the biggest games in recent franchise history.
Against Dallas in a winner-takes-all matchup in the regular season finale, LeRibeus filled in for an injured Kory Lichtensteiger. The Redskins would win that game as LeRibeus and the rest of the offensive line would support Alfred Morris en route to a career day of 200 yards and three touchdowns.
The next week, LeRibeus once again saw action in relief, this time in a playoff matchup against the Seattle Seahawks at FedExField.
That's the last time LeRibeus has appeared in a game.
Determined to return on his path to success, the 6-foot-3 guard spent the offseason working with trainers to get his weight down and concentrated efforts towards staying on a much healthier diet.
"I found myself a trainer in Dallas and just went every day and stayed focused," LeRibeus said. "I finally started to enjoy it just the consistency of staying in shape and being fit and ready to get back. I did a lot of ladder drills. They're really fond of the ladder drills and foot work.
"I (also) stayed away from the pizza and the late-night Mexican food and all that."
As this year's training camp gets into its second week of action, LeRibeus' coaches and teammates have noticed a player that resembles his 2012 form.
"No. 1, he has to control his weight and he's done that," said head coach Jay Gruden before Wednesday's walkthrough practice session. "So he came into OTAs, he was in good shape and his weight was down and he came back after summer break and obviously took that very seriously and kept his weight off.
"He's come in here and he's competing like everybody else."
Two-time Pro Bowler Trent Williams echoed the head coach's sentiment.
When asked if his offensive linemate is ready to compete for a spot, Williams said "definitely."
"Off the top, I think him and [tight end] Niles Paul are probably having some of the best camp that I've seen out of all the guys here," the former first-round pick said. "He came back in great shape, way stronger. You can just tell he busted his butt this offseason.
"He's performing great."