A yearlong layoff because of a knee injury hasn't affected Chase Minnifield's confidence.
"I think my skills stack up well against anybody," the Redskins cornerback said following Tuesday's OTA practice, his second since returning from the knee injury that cost Minnifield his rookie season in the NFL.
Skills were never the question with Minnifield. He was a two-time all-ACC selection at Virginia, and left the UVa program with 13 career interceptions.
But right knee issues have plagued Minnifield since leaving Charlottesville. An ligament injury forced him to miss his final college game -- the Cavaliers' loss to Auburn in the 2011 Chick-fil-A Bowl -- and scared NFL teams enough that he went unpicked in the 2011 draft.
Redskins coaches spoke highly of Minnifield's performance last off-season after he signed with the team as an undrafted free agent. But Minnifield tore the ACL in that right knee again in practice last summer, and he spent his entire rookie year on Washington's Injured Reserve list.
"I really liked him last year," Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said Tuesday. "It was just a shame; the last practice that we had, he had that injury. I thought he had made some real good strides after his first year. But he looks healthy now."
"It doesn't look like there's any setback where he's favoring anything whatsoever. That's why I'm excited," Shanahan added. "He's got five more weeks to keep on getting better and do what he needs to do to make our football team."
Minnifield returned to the practice field during an OTA last week. On Tuesday, he intercepted a pass in practice.
"I'm just doing what I've always done. Playing the game hard; playing the game smart. And just playing the way I've always been taught," he said afterward. "And I think that's good enough to play here, and to play wherever."
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