Wide receiver Billy McMullen is in the midst of his third shot in the NFL. With that as back story, McMullen is doing everything he can to make this one last.
If you've been able to watch a practice at Redskins Park this summer, chances are you saw McMullen make a play.
In the first two preseason games, McMullen has continued to do as much. He leads the Redskins with seven receptions for 90 yards, including a 34-yard grab, this preseason.
Asked about McMullen, head coach Jim Zorn said recently: "Billy's good and he's fast. He understands more than one position and that's a real asset.
"I think the more that he's been in the league, the more he understands what it takes to stick. He's competing hard and doing very well."
McMullen, the 6-4, 215-pound former University of Virginia standout, is in his sixth NFL season. He's played in 45 NFL games, with Philadelphia (2003-2005) and Minnesota (2006).
Philadelphia and Minnesota both use the West Coast offense. Zorn is installing his version of the West Coast offense in Washington.
This preseason, some of the younger Redskins wide receivers have been slowed by injuries. That includes Devin Thomas (hamstring), Malcolm Kelly (knee) and Anthony Mix (hamstring, ribs).
With that, McMullen has earned more of an extended look.
"I'm getting a few opportunities coming my way and I'm trying to take advantage of them," he says. "We have a lot of good guys on this roster, so you have to go in where you fit in and play hard. You have to try to make a big play here and there."
In Saturday night's 17-14 win over Buffalo, McMullen led all receivers with six catches for 55 yards.
Growing up, McMullen attended Henrico High in Richmond as well as Fork Union Military Academy. At Virginia, he became the first player in school history to lead the team in catches for four seasons.
McMullen entered the NFL as a third-round pick (95th overall) by the Eagles in 2003.
Of course, any young receiver coming along with Philadelphia in 2004 and 2005 was playing in an offense dominated by one Terrell Owens.
McMullen was lost in the shuffle in Philadelphia.
"I was up there for three years, and for the second two, they brought in T.O." recalled McMullen. "What can you say, other than the guy's a Hall of Fame caliber receiver."
In 2004, McMullen saw the field for two postseason games with the Eagles. He was inactive for Super Bowl XXXIX, in which New England edged Philadelphia 24-21 in Jacksonville.
McMullen played for Philadelphia at a time when Brad Childress was the offensive coordinator there. He was with Childress at Minnesota when the former Eagles assistant became the Vikings' head coach in 2006.
McMullen's best NFL season so far came in 2006 with the Vikings. He got into 16 regular season games and had 23 receptions for 307 yards with two TDs.
In 2007, McMullen spent training camp and the preseason with Minnesota but was released before the start of the regular season.
He signed with the Redskins as a free agent on Jan. 2.
McMullen has a level of familiarity playing in West Coast schemes.
Asked about the version Zorn prefers, McMullen said: "I've been in this system for a while, and this offense gives you the most freedom I've had in the West Coast system."
That means McMullen could have some flexibility in route-running and the option to make adjustments when the quarterback scrambles.
At the Meadowlands this Saturday night, when the Redskins take on Brett Favre and the New York Jets, McMullen, a soft-spoken player who was a Religious Studies major at the University of Virginia, will once again try to enhance his chances of making the roster.
"I feel like I'm getting a decent chance here, and that's been the case everywhere I've been," McMullen said. "It's just a matter of going out and making all the plays.
"Big plays, little plays. A block, a special teams play, a big catch. Whatever it takes. They all add up."