ASHBURN, Va. – For the first five seasons of his NFL career, Chris Chester called Baltimore home after he was drafted in the second round in 2006. But after the NFL lockout ended in July 2011, the offensive lineman made the move to the Washington Redskins.
It’s a decision that the 29-year-old Chester is grateful he made.
“I’m really enjoying myself here,” he said after Wednesday’s practice. “I had some good friends and some good experiences in Baltimore, but I’m happy to be a Redskin. It’s been a great experience for me, and I’ve been able to make some great relationships, and I think it’s really cool to be a part of this organization.”
Chester has started the past 28 games at right guard for Washington. With the Ravens, Chester made 34 starts at the same position in his last three seasons, but he also started four games at tight end.
Chester, a center at the University of Oklahoma, conceded that he would have preferred avoiding the seemingly constant yo-yoing between guard and tight end, but he said he held no grudges toward the Ravens coaching staff.
“I know that in Baltimore, that coaching staff was trying to do the best they could to give themselves the chance to win,” he said. “And in fairness, we were pretty deep with talent in the O-line. So sometimes that involved me moving around and stuff. That being said, I still got to play quite a bit. I was happy about the opportunity that I ultimately got from there.”
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said the team would have liked to retain Chester after the lockout.
“Chris is very athletic and tough,” he said during a conference call with Washington media. “He can do it all. He’s a run blocker, a pass blocker. He’s one of the best athletes we’re going to see at guard.”
In the Redskins’ read-option offense, the 6-foot-3, 309-pound Chester can utilize his athleticism on pulls and waggles involving rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III. Perhaps that’s why Chester said he feels fully comfortable in the offense crafted by offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.
“This offense, it suits me well, being able to use my athleticism,” Chester said. “This is the best opportunity for me.”