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Once Adrenaline Kicked In, John Sullivan Had No Issues Entering Game

Posted Dec 6, 2016

For the first time since the 2014 season, Redskins center John Sullivan took an NFL snap on offense. He's "pretty thankful" to be snapping the ball again after missing all of the 2015 season.

For the first time since the 2014 season, Redskins center John Sullivan took an NFL snap on offense. He's "pretty thankful" to be snapping the ball again after missing all of the 2015 season.

John Sullivan wasn’t entirely sure what he was going to feel when he entered Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals, but once he got in everything felt normal to him.

The veteran center – who was signed by the Redskins in September after Kory Lichtensteiger was placed on Injured Reserve – had previously been a backup in the NFL, serving in the role as a rookie with the Minnesota Vikings in 2008.

But the Notre Dame product never snapped the ball that season before taking over starting center duties in 2009.

In the second quarter of Sunday’s loss to the Cardinals, though, Sullivan was needed at center for the first time this season after Spencer Long was removed from the game with what was later diagnosed with a concussion.

Sullivan only got off a handful of practice snaps before appearing in the game.  

“In the lead up, knowing I was going to be in this backup role, I thought it would be really tough to come in cold, midstream,” Sullivan said. “But the second you know you are going in there, your adrenaline kicks up and you’re good to go. You don’t really have a chance to think about the grand scheme of things, you just react and go in there and do what you’re coach to do.”

The 31-year-old appeared on the final 43 offensive plays, developing a rapport with quarterback Kirk Cousins on the fly.

“John did a great job – it was a seamless transition,” Cousins said after the game. “He was right on it, and that has been John’s reputation around the league for a long time; he is a very intelligent player, he can jump right in and make it happen. Again, a great addition to the team for if we needed to have a guy like that to step in and keep the thing going at the same pace.”

Sullivan may be needed for more than just his relief appearance on Sunday, as Long remains in concussion protocol.

If Long can’t play on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Redskins will call on Sullivan to start against the No. 11 ranked defensive unit.

Behind him, the Redskins may look to other options including Lichtensteiger and practice squad member Ronald Patrick.

Sullivan has 93 NFL starts under his belt, but it would be his first since the 2014 season after having his entire 2015 season taken away due to injury.

“I’m happy to have the opportunity, I’m happy to be here, but I’m trying to help this team win,” Sullivan said. “The organization has been amazing, teammates great, it’s a great locker room, awesome coaching staff, wish I could help deliver a win for everybody, but it felt good to get back out there and play in a regular season game. There was one point in time I wasn’t sure I’d ever do that again. I’m pretty thankful.”

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