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Torain Knows the Terrain


Ryan Torain waited for phone calls that never came throughout the 2009 season. Then the Redskins hired Mike Shanahan as head coach and Torain got a jingle and a job.

Well, at least a chance to win a job.

Torain is a 6-1, 225-pound running back who signed with the Redskins on April 19.

He was drafted by Denver and Shanahan in the fifth round in 2008. An elbow injury kept him inactive for the first seven weeks of that season but other running backs kept dropping as well.

Suddenly the ball was in Torain's hands. A tough, bruising runner, he showed clear signs of perhaps becoming the next in a line of successful Denver rushers who had hardly been on anyone's radar.

He played in only two games, starting one, and in that start rushed for 68 yards on 12 carries before suffering a torn knee ligament in his left knee. He was done.

In 2009, the Broncos replaced Shanahan with Josh McDaniels and nagging injuries again derailed Torain.

"I had an opportunity in training camp but I had a minor sprain in my right knee and they released me and I sat out the whole year," Torain said during the Redskins' three-day voluntary mini-camp. "I sat out the whole year, waiting for a phone call."

He did work out for a couple of teams but no contract materialized. Now he's back and in a system he knows.

"I know what I'm doing and I'm able to practice at full speed," he said.

The competition will be intense. Former Pro Bowl running backs Clinton Portis, Larry Johnson and Willie Parker are all certainly ahead of him on the depth chart.

Working to his advantage? This running game suits him.

"It's the stretch (play) and inside zone -- bread and butter," Torain said.

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