For Washington Redskins defensive end Adam Carriker, the most recent organized team activities (OTAs) were anything but "team" activities as he was the only player who did not participate in on-field drills.
Instead, as Carriker told listeners of his radio talk show, he spent his time indoors at Redskins Park, working one-on-one with trainers and continuing his rehabilitation from a torn quadriceps tendon in his right leg suffered in the team's second game of the 2012 regular season.
Carriker, a former first-round draft pick by the St. Louis Rams in 2007, joined the Redskins in 2010—the same year current Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett also left the Rams where he held the same position.
Known for his off-field antics as well as his play on the field, Carriker often wears a t-shirt boasting, "The Largest Arms on the D-Line" which is hard to argue considering his 22-inch guns. There is video showing him bench pressing 500 pounds five times.
His wife once had 500 pounds of compost delivered to the team's headquarters, for use at the Carriker's home, for privacy or safety reasons, according to The Washington Post.
An avid WWE fan, Carriker co-hosts a Washington, DC-based radio talk show called "4th and Pain"—billed as "The only pro wrestling radio show hosted by an NFL player and former wrasslin (sic) announcer turned weight loss champion."
The program has become popular among fellow Redskins teammates. Carriker and his co-host, Chuck Carroll, award replica WWE title belts to the top-performing Redskins player each week during the regular season.
Last week, I sent Carriker 10 questions covering a broad range of topics—from his rehab and restructured salary in 2013 to who he would invite to dinner if he had the opportunity. I received his responses over the weekend.
JB: How are you feeling in your rehabilitation "inside" Redskins Park?
Carriker: As far as my rehab, I am going in twice a day, 6 days a week. I put in 42 hours of total rehab time last week. I'm busting my butt to get ready for this season. I am driven to do so.
JB: ESPN.com has you listed behind Jarvis Jenkins on the Redskins' depth chart at left defensive end. How comfortable of a situation would that be for you considering all of the rehabilitation you have put in during last season while inactive and during this offseason?
Carriker: Jarvis is a good player. I'm a good player. I just want to win!!!
JB: What available free agents should the Redskins sign and why?
Carriker: I don't think we have any money to sign any free agents, do we?
(Spotrac.com reports the Redskins are $2.2 million under the salary cap.)
JB: Understanding the limitations placed upon the Redskins with the salary cap penalty in 2013, did the team ask you to restructure your contract?
Carriker: The team did ask me to restructure my contract. With the limitations from the salary cap this year, many guys on the team restructured their contract. I just wanted to do anything I could do to help the team.
JB: When you "leaked" the news of the Redskins opening the season against the Eagles prior to the NFL release of the schedule (April 18), the Twitter message was removed/deleted. Why?
Carriker: The tweet about the Eagles game was simple. I found out we opened the season against them on Monday Night Football and just got excited. After I tweeted it, I realized the NFL was releasing the schedule later that night and figured they would like to be the ones to announce the game, so I deleted the tweet. That's all.
JB: How difficult will it be for the team to live up to the expectations of the fans and media following the Redskins' worst-to-first finish in the NFC East last season?
Carriker: We want expectations. If people don't expect much out of you, then that means you're not very good.
JB: Which team in the NFC East poses the biggest threat to dethrone the Redskins from last season's top spot in the division and why?
JB: Which Redskins player will be the biggest surprise of the 2013 season and why?
Carriker: The biggest surprise will be (strong safety) Brandon Meriweather because people have forgotten about him and the slew of good running backs that we have.
JB: If you could have dinner with three people in history—who would be invited?
Carriker: I would have dinner with Jesus, Deacon Jones and Ali.
JB: Let me ask the same question with three people who are alive?
Carriker: I would have dinner with Tim Tebow, The Rock and Arnold the governator.
Before comments flow in, I know (Muhammad) Ali is alive. The first question asks, "...in history" while the second question asks, "...who are alive." Moreover, Carriker did not provide any explanation as to why he selected these individuals.
While his injury occurred eight months ago, you can rest assure the team doctors and Coach Shanahan are certain not to rush any player's return from injury.
Case in point is the high number of Redskins participating off to the side from the remainder of the team during OTAs. During the first week, a dozen players in various stages of rehabilitation from injuries had a separate practice, according to Redskins.com.
At a May 30 press conference at Redskins Park, according to Redskins.com, head coach Mike Shanahan updated reporters on Carriker's rehab and progress saying, he is "not ready to go at this time."
In a follow-up question on whether there is a time frame for Carriker's return, Shanahan said, "No there isn't. He is not going to be able to go for sure before camp. I do know that."
Carriker is a good sport who made a financial sacrifice for the betterment of the team by restructuring his 2013 contract. He, along with wide receiver Santana Moss, cornerback Josh Wilson and strong safety Brandon Meriweather, combined for approximately $6.5 million in cap space, according to Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star reporter Zac Boyer.
In most cases, the player takes a reduction in salary for the current year and that money is returned in performance incentives down the road.
The Washington Redskins training camp opens on July 25 at a newly constructed facility in Richmond, Va.