Redskins S Montae Nicholson speaks about mental health, opportunity

The Redskins will have to bank on youth and development in some spots on defense.

One such spot is free safety, where the Washington Redskins will have Montae Nicholson serve as the starter opposite lucrative free agent signing Landon Collins.

Earlier in the offseason, it was theorized that the Redskins would attempt to find someone else besides Nicholson to fill that hole, as Nicholson was on shaky ground, following a 2018 season that saw him benched for Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, arrested on assault allegations, and eventually placed on the reserve list.

Nicholson’s charges were eventually dropped, but there was still uncertainty surrounding his status, and even into the latter stages of July, there have been calls for an outside hire, such as Tre Boston.

That said, at this point, it looks like it’s Nicholson’s job to lose. And that isn’t a bad thing.

Nicholson is in a better mental place than he was a year ago, and in a recent training camp interview with D.C. Sports reporter Craig Hoffman, he spoke about his journey over the past year, and how he’s learned to deal with life as an NFL player.

The interview is seven minutes long, and in it, Nicholson touches on a number of things, from Jimmy Moreland, to the impact Landon Collins has had so far, to the unique teaching style Ray Horton brings, and how it helps the young defensive back learn and grow. But out of all the discussion, this quote stood out most from Nicholson, given when Hoffman asked what Nicholson’s definition of success would be in 2019, now that he’s rebounded from a down sophomore campaign.

“In my opinion… people say you can’t be happy until you’re successful. I think it’s kind of the opposite. You can’t be successful until you’re happy. That’s really what it is. When you’re content with who you are, how you move, knowing that you’re doing everything the right way, I think you can achieve true happiness and your success. It doesn’t necessarily have to be as a football player, but just as a person in general.”

Nicholson has always possessed the traits to attain success as a football player; he’s 6-foot-2 with a long reach, 4.4 long speed, and excellent range and instincts over the top. But last year, Nicholson’s mentality prevented him from achieving the success he desired, and he needed time, to come to a realization, and reset, as all human beings require at some point in their lives.

As Nicholson said in the interview, “the mental and physical go hand in hand; if you don’t have one, you can’t have the other”. Now, with a clean slate, and a new day ahead of him, he’s grateful to be in a position to address how far he’s come, and in September, he has so much farther yet to go.