Curtis Samuel update sparks questions about offseason treatment

LANDOVER, MARYLAND - OCTOBER 10: Curtis Samuel #10 of the Washington Football Team runs with the ball during the first half a New Orleans Saints at FedExField on October 10, 2021 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
LANDOVER, MARYLAND - OCTOBER 10: Curtis Samuel #10 of the Washington Football Team runs with the ball during the first half a New Orleans Saints at FedExField on October 10, 2021 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

Fans collectively rejoiced when the Washington Football Team signed Curtis Samuel to a three-year, $34.5 million deal in free agency.

While William Jackson was signed for more guaranteed money and thought as the final piece to the secondary, Samuel was widely viewed as the crown jewel of Ron Rivera and Co’s free agency class, and rightly so.

After all, JD McKissic (80), Logan Thomas (72) and Antonio Gibson (32) finished behind Terry McLaurin (87) for the team lead in catches last season. See the problem? The 2-4 spots were made up of non-receivers.

The need for McLaurin to have a reliable sidekick was glaring, and Washington answered the bell. Who better than his former Ohio State roommate?

Unfortunately, an unshakable groin injury has limited Samuel to just two games (30 snaps) in the Burgundy and Gold this year.

We speculated that Washington should have put Samuel on season-ending IR after he re-injured his groin in Week 4. We thought it was foolish to activate him for that game to begin with, but that’s besides the point.

Samuel hasn’t suited up since that game and Rivera acknowledged on Friday that the 25-year-old speedster is seeking a second opinion on his groin.

Washington Football Team receiver Curtis Samuel still isn’t 100%

In most sports, the term “second opinion” normally preludes a surgery recommendation, or at least an extended spell on the sidelines.

We’re hoping neither scenario presents itself, but we can’t help but wonder why Samuel wasn’t advised to go under the knife during the offseason. In fact, if you remember, Rivera almost laughed at the idea amid Samuel’s elongated absence during mandatory minicamp and training camp. The second-year head coach was adamant that rest and rehab were in Samuel’s best interest.

"“Don’t even bring that up. Somebody else brought that up. I don’t want to start any rumors, any crap,” Rivera said. “So this has got nothing to do with any of that. It’s just about giving a guy an opportunity to rehab the way he needed to, because unfortunately when we had to put them on COVID he missed basically two weeks.”“. . . That is not a word or an option as far as we’re concerned right now. So it’s not even on the table. Please do not start something that’s not there."

The quote left Rivera open for criticism if Samuel’s groin didn’t heal properly. Well, here we are, nearly two months later and Samuel’s outlook for 2021 is extremely bleak. The former Buckeye was ruled out for Week 10 and is a candidate for short-term IR since he hasn’t practiced this week.

It’s either that, or keep Samuel on the 53-man roster.

During Friday’s media session, though, Washington reporters wisely poked at the possibility of Samuel landing on season-ending IR.

Here’s Rivera’s response:

We’d love him back, too, but at what cost? Before the bye, Rivera expressed confidence that Samuel would play a role in the second half of the campaign. That looks more and more unlikely as the days go by.

Anyone know why Rivera thought rehab was a smarter option than surgery? Anyone know why surgery seemingly wasn’t even considered?

We’ve seen Washington mishandle their treatment of injured players — remember the Trent Williams saga? — and it feels like they’re doing the same with Samuel for not nipping this injury in the bud when they had the chance.

Had Samuel undergone surgery, he might’ve been ruled out for the year … not that we would know because we don’t even know the extent of the injury! Still, though, at least fans would know the injury had been fully-repaired.

Fast forward to Week 11 and Samuel still hasn’t been able to shake the injury. He wasn’t on the field at all on Tuesday. The former second-rounder’s season could be over and we wouldn’t rule out the possibility of him undergoing surgery.

And to think this issue could’ve been resolved months ago.

Don’t get tricked into thinking change is on the horizon. Washington isn’t shedding their laughingstock label anytime soon, which is a shame to say because they’re coming off their biggest win in recent memory.

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