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Former Illinois star Jer'Zhan Newton slowed by injuries in first NFL season

Former Illinois Fighting Illini defensive tackle Jer'Zhan Newton hasn't had a good start to his NFL career.

Newton, who plays for the Washington Commanders, recently underwent a second foot surgery this year. He now underwent surgery on both before getting an NFL snap.

“He had some issues with the other foot,” Commanders coach Dan Quinn said. “He’s going to have a procedure done.”

Newton underwent surgery last week. There is no timetable for when he will be operational again. Quinn is optimistic about the timing.

“He’s such a fierce competitor,” Quinn said. “If a procedure needs to be done, it’s better to do it early.”

The Commanders selected him with the No. 36 pick in last month's draft.

Newton was projected to be in the first round, but became one of the steals in the second. Some believe teams stayed away because of the foot injury he suffered last season. Newton said the injury has healed and he is ready to play with his new team.

“I am completely healed now. “I’m fully ready,” Newton said before the second setback. “The injury happened midway through the season, I had surgery in January, healed, was fully healed, then I did a pro day at Illinois and I've been ready to go ever since.”

The Commanders still believe Newton has a chance to make an impact this season.

Shandel Richardson is the editor of Illini Now. He can be reached at shandelrich@gmail.com

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