As news broke surrounding Dwayne Haskins' violation of COVID-19 protocols, former Washington player Brian Mitchell found himself in a tough spot.
Since Haskins came to Washington in 2019, Mitchell has wanted to see him succeed. He's been a believer that through all the knocks, the quarterback could succeed and perform. However, he could not defend these actions, given how Haskins jeopardized his teammates during a pandemic.
“Now I believe that people deserve second chances. And if anybody listens to me right now, you all know I have been a devout supporter and defender of this one Dwayne Haskins," Mitchell said on The Team 980's The Brian Mitchell Show. "And because I believe the kid is overly-criticized. I believe he is much more harshly judged than any other quarterback that has come through here.”
“But ultimately, a lot of it has also come because of his own doing," Mitchell said.
Part of the reason Mitchell supports second chances is that he, himself, has benefitted from being given another opportunity.
During his rookie season in 1990, Mitchell was charged with driving under the influence. It was a moment that forever changed his mindset and how he carried himself on and off the field.
“My coach basically told me ‘you know what, you’re young, you make a mistake. Don’t let it happen again,'" Mitchell said. “So I had to become the person where I wasn’t letting that happening again. So let’s get it straight, yes, you can make mistakes. Smart people, intelligent people, people who have lived their lives will say you deserve a second chance.”
Therefore, Mitchell still feels Haskins has the chance to not let his career slide the wrong way any further. He can still change for the better. But, it needs to come now.
Mistakes happen, but with this being his second violation of protocols this season, a leash can only be so long.
“Now, that’s a second chance. It’s not a third, it’s not a fourth, it’s not a fifth, it’s not a sixth," Mitchell said. "It’s not like every time you keep saying you want a second chance, because that number doesn’t go back to zero every time you do something else that’s asinine and stupid. This I think was stupid, yes.”
How can Haskins turn things around? Mitchell believes that some mentorship can help. During his time in the league, he had veteran players to show him the right way to act and keep him in line. Mitchell knew that if he slipped up, he would be held accountable. According to him, it was similar to how Michael Jordan created the right culture within the Chicago Bulls locker room during the championship years.
If needed, Mitchell is willing to be that figure for the young quarterback.
“Dwayne Haskins, if anybody hears this..you can get my phone number. I am willing to help you," Mitchell said. "See I’ve been down those lines of doing something wrong and getting to the right points.”
“I’m not saying this to embarrass you young man, and I want people to tell you I said this. I’m saying this to help you, because you’re at a position right now and at a point in your life…you better take the road that not everybody else takes," Mitchell said.
He alluded this moment for Haskins to the famous 'The Road Not Taken' poem by Robert Frost. Mitchell wants Haskins to take the road less traveled, meaning to leave the partying and entertainment for non-football related people in the past.
It may not seem as appealing or fun, but it's the only way for the quarterback to prove that he is worth another chance.
"A lot of people have taken the road of trying to impress those outside of the game of football, impress those that are not controlling their damn job. And you know what they did?" Mitchell said. "They ended up losing their damn job.”
“Travel the road that’s not taken and be a little uncomfortable for once in your life and make sure you make decisions to make your life better.”