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Reed Doughty Has Unfinished Business


Depending on how you look at the numbers, the length of the average NFL career is somewhere betwen three and six and-a-half years long.

One method includes the undrafted players who spend time with organizations sparingly before calling it a career. The other analyzes draft picks that start their careers with a secure role in an organization.

Either method puts Washington Redskins safety Reed Doughty above average, having just completed his eighth season in the NFL, all in the Nation's Capital.

That might seem surprising for the lightly-touted Division II prospect out of Northern Colorado, who caught the eye of Redskins legend Joe Gibbs after an unlikely Scouting Combine invite.

Several months later, he became the 173rd overall pick of the 2006 NFL Draft. From there, he has been a solid contributor on defense and special teams--whatever the team needs most.

"I really have no way to explain it," he told the media when the season ended. "It's the grace of God that I even had the opportunity to have Joe Gibbs giving me a call on draft day in 2006 to going through three different coaching changes and three different defensive coordinators."

Excelling in both the 4-3 and 3-4 schemes, Doughty has consistently ranked among the team's top tacklers, finishing the 2013 campaign with 89 tackles, an interception and two passes defensed.

Rarely listed as the team's top strong safety in his career, Doughty has averaged nine starts per season over the last five years, providing steady production.

"Each year people talk about how you're a free agent [but] each year it's a job interview here," he explained. "So whether I was under contract or not, I tried to put my best foot forward and give myself and opportunity to play the next year."

Doughty enters the offseason expecting to hit free agency when the new league year begins on March 11, 2014. His preference would be to remain in the only NFL city he's ever known.

"I've enjoyed my eight-year run and I've felt like I have a lot to be proud of. Maybe you'll be back, maybe not," he said. "Hopefully, I'll have an opportunity to come back, but if not it's a great run.

"I have a lot of people to be thankful to."

However the offseason plays out, Doughty knows that he wants to be part of and contribute to a winning culture. As one of the four remaining Redskins on each of the last two playoff teams, Doughty understands what a winning culture allows a team to do.

"When you're not winning it's not fun, but you still have a lot to play for regardless of the record," he said. "Last year (2012) was one of the most fun years I've ever had playing football since high school, honestly. That run was special and I still remember everything about it. This year it's the opposite of that.

"Winning is more fun, it's as simple as that."




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