How quickly that all changed this week. He underwent surgery in May for a preexisting shoulder injury. Washington continues to practice with the first team at defensive end.
Fans of the team hoping for some good news about starting inside linebacker and rookie Reggie Ragland are out of luck. Adversity and injury have hit the Bills for the second straight year, and this is when Rex Ryan really has to show he's still got a little defensive magic left for the early stages of 2016 at least. Hawthorne is a ninth-year veteran who has split time in the National Football League with Seattle and New Orleans, and he played for defensive coordinator Rob Ryan with the Saints from 2013 until Ryan was sacked as defensive coordinator midway through last season. The Bills couldn't stop the run and get after the quarterback.
Ragland was injured in practice Friday and the Bills confirmed Wednesday the Alabama product would miss the entire 2016 season.
The regular season doesn't start for another month, but the Buffalo Bills have already suffered two losses. Hawthorne spent the last four years as a member of the New Orleans Saints, a team that has struggled defensively in recent years.
This is an very bad blow to a Bills team that were depending on five returning and new players to help improve a defense that massively under-performed in 2015. He was an integral member of the Bills great defense in 2014, before re-signing with the New England Patriots that offseason. He pleaded guilty to a number of violations, and the Patriots released him.
Rex Ryan has proven he can work wonders on a defense.
Despite the injuries, Ryan is sticking with the offseason vow he made in saying Buffalo's defense will be better from a year ago, when it ranked 20th in yards allowed and managed 21 sacks - a franchise-low for a 16-game season. However, Buffalo is going to have to wait until next season to see what it has in the Crimson Tide product.