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Retaining Brian Orakpo A 'Top Priority'

Posted Feb 25, 2014

Speaking to the media in Indianapolis, Washington Redskins GM Bruce Allen and HC Jay Gruden made it clear that re-signing OLB Brian Orakpo was the plan.

The NFL Scouting Combine is traditionally seen as an opportunity for teams to draw conclusions on an amateur prospect's ability to turn pro.

But this week, the most impactful discussion the Redskins have may be with the representatives of pending free agent linebacker Brian Orakpo.

Scheduled to become a free agent for the first time in his career in exactly two week's time, Orakpo stands to be one of the top edge rushers available.

"I’m going to have some more conversations with his representative here, and we’ll see where it goes," Redskins general manager Bruce Allen told the media on Friday morning.

"We really haven’t got into those types of [contract] specifics yet. His agent is supposed to have some ideas on what he would like to propose to us today or tomorrow."

Head coach Jay Gruden reenforced Allen's statements, calling Orakpo the team's primary focus.

"He’s a top priority for us. We’d love to get Brian back," Gruden said. "Obviously, we have a lot of respect for what Brian has done as a Washington Redskin. We hope to get him back next year, no question.

"We’re evaluating every free agent that’s on our team and that’s out there in the National Football League, very, very hard. We’ll make those decisions when they come up."

Orakpo enters the offseason coming off of his third career Pro Bowl appearance and his highest sack total since 2010.

He finished the season with 70 tackles, 15 for a loss, 10 sacks, 42 pressures, interception, five passes defensed, two fumble recoveries and the first touchdown of his career.

With career sack No. 36 in Week 12 vs. San Francisco, Orakpo passed Dave Butz (35.5) for fifth on the Redskins’ all-time list. From Weeks 10-13, Orakpo had 5.5 sacks, the best four-game stretch of his career.

After battling pectoral injuries in 2011 and 2012, Orakpo also appears to be entering his physical prime, where opportunity and hard work converge at success.

“We like Brian. There’s no doubt we like Brian as well as a number of other players," Allen said. "If we were just one player short that would be an easy question, but have several players that we’re looking to fill."

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