Corner trying to become next successful undrafted Redskins player

ASHBURN -- Chase Minnifield knew the chance existed. Shortly before the draft his agent surveyed teams and it came back negative: They were worried about his right knee, repaired through microfracture surgery.

And there was the 40-yard dash time of 4.63 seconds -- two tenths of a second slower than he had been timed as a junior -- that showed he had a ways to go.

"But I thought even in the later rounds someone would take a chance on me, being that eventually I'd be healthy," he said.

One concern after this type of procedure is the cartilage's durability. Professional athletes have a mixed record, but Minnifield returned to the field and participated fully in the mid-June minicamp.

"It hasn't been difficult," he said of his rehab. "I've been feeling pretty good. If I wasn't ready, I wouldn't be out there. ... I'm just trying to stay healthy and learn the playbook. Health is a big issue."

He now has a chance to go from undrafted to a roster spot and, in future years, maybe more than just a backup. If so, he'll become like other Redskins undrafted rookies in their history, including Joe Jacoby and Antonio Pierce. Or coach Mike Shanahan will have gotten lucky, as he did in Denver with former sixth-rounder Terrell Davis, who fell in the draft because of injury concerns.

"He's got football intelligence. He's got awareness. He's smart," Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said. "The only knock on him is he had the bad knee and he ran and should have never ran the 40. Thank God we got him. I love the kid. Hopefully he keeps progressing the way he's doing."