The Washington Redskins lost to the St. Louis Rams Sunday afternoon in what was an otherwise forgettable game. But for Arizona State Football fans, there was something to smile about. Ryan Torain, the former ASU standout running back, was the Redskins' leading rusher, gaining 46 yards on seven carries.
Torain was as good a running back that the Sun Devils has ever had. He ran for over 1200 yards his junior year in 2006, while splitting time with other backs. Since then, it has been, until now, a run of bad injury luck. He got hurt during his senior season at ASU and missed the last seven games, costing him what could have been millions of dollars. He was considered be many to be one of the best running backs in the 2007 draft, but fell to the fifth round because of the injury questions.
2008 was another unfortunate season. Starting for the first time in his career for the Denver Broncos, he carried the ball 12 times for 68 yards, but injured his knee, tearing his ACL. Goodbye, 2008.
2009 was the same story. He started training camp hampered by injuries and was cut by the new coaching staff in Denver (Josh McDaniels). He didn't catch on anywhere else.
2010, so far, has brought more fortune for Torain. Mike Shanahan, who drafted him in Denver, invited him to training camp. He stayed healthy. He got cut, but was signed to Washington's practice squad. After releasing Larry Johnson, Torain was signed to the active roster and appears to now be the number two guy, as he had as many carries as Clinton Portis (and two more yards) in the game against the Rams.
Perhaps Torain's luck is about to change.
Clinton Portis is now 29 years old and is nursing a minor wrist injury. He only played in eight games last season and is in his ninth pro season. He likely does not have many quality miles left, as running backs typically don't play at a high level after age 29. Add in the fact that Shanahan has a reputation of being able to get relatively obscure running backs to produce great numbers, and you could have a recipe for success.
This could have been said two seasons ago in his first season, but the injury bug kept him out of action. Why is now any different?
It was just a couple of weeks ago that I suspected that he exorcised some demons by posing as Cameron Marshall in ASU's season opener and kicking that injury bug right in the mouth. Do I have any proof that he did? No, but do you have any proof that he didn't? He was cut and not yet signed to the practice squad, so there were no contractual issues, and the runs that this supposed "Marshall" had were spectacular, much like Torain's were when he was terrorizing defenses in Sun Devil Stadium. It would be just the thing to restore balance to the football universe and allow him to have the promising NFL career that he should have.
I would have to say that Torain has had enough bad luck with injuries. It is certainly time for him to catch a break (not the bone type, please) and get to show his stuff.
I know there aren't likely a ton of Redskins fans who read SB Nation Arizona, and there are probably more than a few that would rather see the ‘Skins wallow in misery like they are currently. I, for one, though, would love to see Ryan Torain develop into an NFL star, whether it be in Washington or anywhere else in the league.
So, ASU fans, please join me in lighting a few candles, saying a few prayers, sending him horseshoes and rabbits' feet, or whatever you can come up with to help him along. I just don't want to see him suffer through another year of injuries.
You can catch up with Ryan Torain by reading his local blog, following him on Twitter (@ryantorain), or liking him on Facebook.