Chase Young showing leadership by reporting to OTAs amid ACL rehab
By Jerry Trotta
Based on the collective vitriolic reaction amongst Washington Commanders fans (some, not all) when Chase Young didn’t report to the first round of organized team activities, you’d think the former No. 2 overall pick skipped a week of training camp because he had better things to do.
In reality, though, Young was busy rehabbing his ACL in Colorado and missed voluntary (!) workouts, all the while informing Ron Rivera beforehand.
In a sweet case of poetic justice, Young put this narrative to bed by reporting to Ashburn for the Commanders’ second round of OTAs. While the 90-man offseason roster was busy engaging in position and team drills, Young garnered the most attention by just gracing the team with his presence as a cheerleader.
After missing all of OTAs last year to fulfill endorsement obligations, Young is showcasing maturity and leadership by arriving for the second week.
Clearly itching to get back on the field with his teammates, the former Defensive Rookie of the Year gave Montez Sweat, who also reported Tuesday after missing the first set of practices, a formal greeting before 11-on-11s.
Commanders pass rusher Chase Young showcased his leadership by reporting to OTAs amid his ACL rehab.
Young isn’t used to being a spectator, but watching practice from the sidelines gave him the vantage point of a coach. Fittingly enough, the 23-year-old has embraced a coaching/mentorship role this week. Don’t dare show the following quote to the Young haters, folks. They’ll find a way to hold it against him, somehow.
"“A lot of times I’m out there with ’Tez (Montez Sweat), so it would be hard for me to even talk to him or give him tips while I’m on the field with him,” Young said. “But now just being off, being able to sit back, if his first step is short, if his pad level’s a little high: just any tips I can give him. Just trying to be a good teammate and at the end of the day just cheer on my teammates.”"
Would you look at that? On top of lending pointers to Sweat and the rest of Washington’s defensive line, Young can view this as a learning experience, too. Whether it be watching tape or simply listening to the coaches as they praise or correct the team, Young can soak up valuable information as he spectates.
Speaking of the coaching staff, Ron Rivera is thrilled to have Young back. The Commanders head coach made it clear he wanted Young with his teammates at OTAs so long as he could make it work amid his ACL rehab. The Ohio State product acquiescing to Rivera’s request shouldn’t be taken lightly.
"“I think it’s great because he is one of those guys that has an infectious energy level, and when you bring energy, players feed off the energy,” Rivera said. “As I said, though, we’ve got to be careful. We don’t want to over-ramp practice when we’re not in pads. This is really about developing and growing.”"
There’s no arguing that Young needed to change his approach after 2021. It’s feasible the hype got to his head after his statement rookie year when he was a catalyst in leading Washington to the playoffs for the first time since 2015.
At the very least, he got complacent and Rivera himself acknowledged last year was an “awakening” for the star edge rusher. Some fans won’t view it as a huge deal, but Young showing up for the second week of OTAs while he’s working his way back from ACL surgery is an encouraging sign for what’s to come.