NFL: Hall feeling comfortable with Redskins
ASHBURN, Va. ó Having been to the Pro Bowl twice, saddled with the nickname “MeAngelo” along the way, DeAngelo Hall is taking a more mature approach as he plans his next trip to Hawaii.
The cornerback who in 2005 hoisted a sign that read, “Aloha, see you in Hawaii,” after making an interception on “Monday Night Football” feels at home with the Washington Redskins after troubled times with the Atlanta Falcons and Oakland Raiders.
“My mindset has changed so much over the last year and a half,” Hall said after Sunday morning’s practice. “At first, I felt like I knew everything. I felt like I knew what I needed to do to get right, but being here with (secondary) coach Jerry Gray and the rest of the coaches, they’ve definitely opened my eyes to a lot of things that I need to work on to just be a better, more consistent player and eventually be remembered as one of the best.”
Hall joined the Redskins during the 2008 season one day after he was released by the Raiders, who declared him a disappointment after eight games ó and less than a year after signing him to a seven-year, $70 million deal.
Hall didn’t mesh with his teammates in Oakland, but the Virginia native and former Virginia Tech star fit right in with the Redskins, who re-signed him at the end of the year to a deal worth $54 million over six years.
“I can remember being in Oakland and coming home after games and telling my mom, who comes to every single one of my games from the Virginia Beach area, ‘I’m just not happy. I wish I could go to another team. I wish I could give the money back.’ To be able to be released as sort of a mutual agreement and have it work out for the best for me, that’s something that really happened,” Hall said.
“To get a second chance on life, as far as football careers go, I wake up every morning excited to come to practice, excited to work, excited to get better. I’m just so ecstatic to be out here. … That little bit of Atlanta and that Oakland experience matured me so much as a player and as a person that I wouldn’t trade it for the world because if I changed that, I don’t think my mindset and attitude would be what it is right now.”
With Shawn Springs gone, Hall is now the Redskins’ undisputed No. 1 cornerback.
“I think he’s expecting Pro Bowl,” said Gray, who made four Pro Bowl appearances (1986-89) for the Los Angeles Rams. “He’s expecting to get back to being one of the top corners in this league. I know if you’ve been there, because I’ve been there as a top corner in the league early in my career, and then when I wasn’t voted to the Pro Bowl, I was more disappointed. I think that’s what happened to him. He’s a Pro Bowl guy and he’s not gotten that nod the last couple of years. So I can say that he’s trying to get back there.”
Head coach Jim Zorn has also noticed Hall’s maturity.
“A guy like that could say, ‘Hey, listen guys, I’m so good that (you can) just leave me alone and get out of my life,”‘ Zorn said. “But he listens to Jerry, and he really communicates.”
NOTES: CB Carlos Rogers, who missed more than a week of practice with a strained left calf, returned to practice Sunday. … WR Malcolm Kelly (hamstring) resumed practice at full speed during the afternoon session. … WR Devin Thomas (hamstring), G Randy Thomas (knee) and T Mike Williams (groin) were limited during the afternoon session.