Newly acquired wide receiver James Thrash arrived at Redskins Park Thursday morning ready to begin a new chapter in his NFL career.
The workload started fast and didn't let up: In his first day, he participated in a walk-through practice, worked out with teammates in the weight room, met with some of his new coaches--then left for the day with a playbook under his arm.
For a wide receiver known to have a great work ethic, it turns out this is nothing new.
"That's the only way I know how to approach football: give it my all and work at everything with all my heart and all my soul and all my strength," he said.
Thrash returns for his second tour with the Redskins. He spent 1997-2000 developing his skills in Washington before signing with the Philadelphia Eagles prior to the 2001 season.
Thrash believes he came into his own in Philadelphia after starting 47 regular-season games and seven post-season games for the Eagles. Last year, he led the team with 49 catches for 558 yards and one touchdown.
His best season was in 2001 when he posted 63 catches for 833 yards and eight touchdowns.
"The three years I had [in Philadelphia] were awesome," said Thrash, who still makes his year-round residence in Leesburg, Va. "We made it to the NFL Championship game three years in a row. My time there was great--I grew so much.
"Having said that, it's time to move on. It's time to move in a different direction. I'm excited about the change."
Thrash said he wasn't surprised the Eagles decided to trade him upon acquiring wide receiver Terrell Owens from the San Francisco 49ers. Thrash's fate was left hanging somewhat when Owens was initially dealt to the Baltimore Ravens.
Later, an independent arbitrator got involved and the three teams worked out an arrangement sending Owens to Philadelphia. Despite solid overall production in three seasons, Thrash knew his time with the Eagles was over.
"I've been in the business long enough to know when they sign another receiver, one or two guys are going to be gone," he said. "I figured it would be me. I was prepared for it."
Returning to Washington, Thrash will see a few familiar faces from his previous tenure. Jon Jansen, Chris Samuels and LaVar Arrington were teammates on the 2000 team.
Among the wide receivers, Thrash joins Laveranues Coles, Rod Gardner, Darnerien McCants and Taylor Jacobs in forming a group with impressive depth. (McCants signed a contract extension earlier this week.) What's more, each bring unique skills to the table.
With all the talent at wide receiver, Thrash said he isn't certain yet how the Redskins plan to use him, either on offense or special teams. (He was a kickoff returner last season and contributed on coverage teams.)
"That's not something I can even be concerned about right now," he said. "That's the coach's decision. All I can do is go out, prepare like I know how to prepare and then go make plays.
"I think this is a great opportunity and it was awesome for the Redskins to pursue me, to say they wanted to make a trade for me. To be able to come back here where I started is a great opportunity."