It appears that James Thrash has a decision to make.
According to Dave Elfin of the Washington Times, Thrash has been struggling with a neck injury all offseason. Medication took care of the pain during the offseason down time but once workouts started in March the bulging disc flared up again. He has yet to participate in any of the team’s OTA’s.
It appears increasingly likely that Thrash will need surgery if he is to play for the Washington Redskins this year. That has the 34-year-old receiver/special teams demon contemplating retirement.
Although the coaches love him because of his work ethic and his eagerness to do whatever they ask of him, Thrash may be very much on the bubble this year when it comes to making the roster. As the third wide receiver last year, he caught nine passes, the same number that he caught the year before.
Four receiver spots are set in stone—Santana Moss, Antwaan Randle El, Malcolm Kelly, and Devin Thomas. A fully healthy James Thrash would have a tough time holding off speedy rookie Marko Mitchell for the fifth and probably final WR roster spot. A wounded Thrash, who has spent 12 seasons in the NFL, certainly would be facing an uphill battle.
His choices seem to be fairly clear cut. He could try to rehab his neck without surgery and give it a go in training camp. Or he could have the surgery and hope that he’s ready to return to fight for his job.
I’m not sure how long the recovery from his surgery would be—the doctors themselves don’t know until they go in and do the procedure—but one would have to think that being ready for the July 30 start of camp would be very difficult.
Or Thrash could retire. He appears to be fighting that but it may be inevitable. He has seen seven specialists about the injury, perhaps hoping that he can find an optimistic prognosis.
For now, the Redskins are not pressuring him to make a decision. However, when they start signing their draft picks they will need to release players in order to stay at the 80-man limit. They will need Thrash to make a commitment by then.
I’m not about to make any recommendations here. Regardless of whether he retires this year or a few years down the road I certainly hope that Thrash will be able to walk away from the game with a decent quality of life rather than needing a cane.