By Jay Skurski
Doug Worthington kept his undefeated record against Naaman Roosevelt intact.
The former St. Francis and current Washington Redskins defensive end again got the best of his one-time St. Joe’s rival at Ralph Wilson Stadium, leaving town Thursday night with a 7-6 victory over the Buffalo Bills.
“I said what’s up to Naaman a couple times,” Worthington said. “After the game I talked a little junk to him. I beat him a couple times on this field previously, so it was good to keep a 3-0 record against him.”
Worthington is fighting for a reserve spot along the Redskins’ defensive line.
“He’s done a good job. He played well [Thursday]. He’s working with the third unit, but [has been] pretty impressive,” Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said. “This is as deep as a defensive line I’ve had in a long time. [There’s] going to be a lot of guys fighting for a position, and he is one of those guys.”
Worthington is with his third NFL team after being drafted in the seventh round by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the seventh round of the 2010 NFL Draft. He couldn’t stick with the Steelers and was signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in December of his draft year. The Redskins claimed him on Aug. 6 of last year, and he joined the active roster Dec. 20.
“They’re giving me a great chance, and I’m just working hard,” Worthington said. “I’ve got to keep showing improvement. Not one practice, not one game is going to determine it, you got to keep playing hard, show you’re ready to work, you’re ready to be in that scheme and in that defense.”
Worthington and his St. Francis teammates won Monsignor Martin League AA titles at the Ralph in 2003 and ’04 over Roosevelt’s Marauders. Following high school, the St. Francis graduate went on to become a captain of the Ohio State football team.
Thursday was his first game back in Western New York as a professional.
“It was great. It was a blessing, coming back to the stadium where I played so many games,” he said.
Worthington’s high school coach, Jerry Smith, was on the field with him during warm-ups.
“It was a great feeling coming back here to the hometown, seeing some familiar faces in the crowd,” Worthington said. “To go against a team you looked up to growing up is pretty special."
Roosevelt, who’s in a similar fight for a roster spot at receiver with his hometown team, wished his one-time rival well.
“He’s a great player and a good guy, so I just hope for the best for him,” he said.