James Washington has officially returned to practice after four months on injured reserve, and he's looking to conquer the uphill climb to become another productive target for Dak Prescott
FRISCO, Texas — James Washington has now taken another massive step toward his potential debut for the Dallas Cowboys, with the team officially designating him to return from injured reserve as practices begin in preparation to host the Indianapolis Colts in Week 13.
His first practice was a successful one, even if measured only by the fact he came out of it clean, physically.
"It felt great," Washington said of how he felt during his first practice since suffering the broken foot in July. "I'm just glad I can put my hand in the pile again and help this team out."
To be clear, this doesn't mean Washington will be on the field this coming Sunday, but instead allows the Cowboys a 21-day window to ramp up the veteran wideout for potential addition to the active 53-man roster — deadline being Dec. 21 — or they'll otherwise have to revert him to season-ending injured reserve.
It's the first major injury suffered by Washington in his entire football life, his only game ever missed due to injury having occurred in college as a star receiver for Oklahoma State and, as such, it took him time to leap the mental hurdle associated with such a return and the process thereof.
"[I learned] that I'm mentally stronger than I thought I was," said Washington. "A lot of these guys around here, as well as my family, wife and everybody else; they did their part and helped me keep my head up."
He's looking to channel the frustration felt over the past few weeks into production for Dallas, having signed a one-year deal in the offseason.
"It's been a lot of fun watching them do what they love to do — win — but for me it sucked," he admitted. "I hated watching it on TV. I [would've] loved to be out there with them. … I'm just glad they opened my [practice] window and gave me an opportunity to get back and help these guys out."
Only one thing will get him back to top form, though.
"Just game reps and continuing with the faith — just believing in it and God got me the whole way," said Washington. "My brothers have been with me every step of the way, keeping my head up and keeping me in the game, and involved with the team."
But first things first, and that involves the 26-year-old getting reacclimated to practice with the goal of being activated soon for the chance to be what he and the Cowboys believe he can be.
"I feel great," he said. "[Practice] felt great every step of the way. … I'm pleased," he said. "I've been wanting to get on the field since I got here — I was a Cowboys fan growing up."
Ultimately, he's just trying to make his dream come true, and his second chance to do so has now arrived.