In short order, the Pro Bowl running back suffered a compound fracture of his right leg, a change in the NFL rules that diluted his chances for a big contract - he went from unrestricted to restricted free agent - and a trade that took him from a contender with the New York Jets to a Seattle team that is trying to rebuild.
The man wears a perpetual smile, at least he does while walking on and off the field. Once the helmet goes on and the faceguard blocks the view, maybe things change. But maybe not. Washington seems genuinely glad to be with the Seahawks. And he doesn't want to settle for just getting back to being healthy. He wants to be a star again, too, and in so doing help the Seahawks, a team that has only won nine games total the last two seasons.
``It (playing healthy) is one of my goals,'' Washington said. ``It's not the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal is to become a Pro Bowl player again.''
That may take a while. He's being held out of many contact drills during the Seahawks' practices in Renton on the shore of Lake Washington. Still, he seems spry and quick in the drills he is being allowed to do, and perhaps he will make it all the way back.
``He's got a great attitude,'' coach Pete Carroll said of Washington, ``He's a really strong character kid and a wonderful kid to add to the team. Once he becomes part of the full action he's going to have an influence on the other guys as well. I think (Washington is) a really great asset as we begin to put things together.''