Growing up in Upper Marlboro, Md., Chase Young lived just a 12-minute drive from FedExField, where the Washington Football Team plays its home games.
The pass rusher, who was selected second overall by his hometown team in this past April's draft, had the chance to live out a childhood dream on Monday. Washington held a light practice at its home stadium, meaning Young took the turf at FedExField for the first time of his young professional career.
After practice concluded, Young spoke about what it was like for him -- a Prince George's County native -- to play at the 80,000-seat venue for the first time.
"It felt good. Just going, I think about 12 minutes away from my house," Young said to local media via Zoom after practice. "It feels good that I can come back and play where I'm from. It just feels good. A long time coming."
Washington's practice Monday marked the first time the team has played at its home stadium this summer. With no preseason games due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the session provided an opportunity for the team to see what it was like playing in an empty, fanless stadium, which will be the norm almost everywhere this fall.
Crowd noise was pumped in. Plays were called in through headsets. Although there wasn't much contact throughout the session, Washington was able to go through the motions of what it'll be like on gamedays this fall playing amidst a pandemic.
Young played his high school football at local powerhouse DeMatha Catholic before becoming an All-American at Ohio State. A few DeMatha games are regularly shown on national TV each year, while Ohio State packs over 100,000 fans in the Horseshoe for each home game.
Simply put, he's played in front of large crowds since he was a young teenager.
However, the new and unusual atmosphere of Monday, with no one in attendance besides team personnel and a select group of media, did not bother him much at all.
"It feels good. If it feels just like a scrimmage or practice, then that's how it feels," Young said. "I feel good out there. I feel comfortable. It's always good to move around. I just feel good out there."
To the pass rusher, it still feels a little surreal that he's a member of his hometown team, one Young grew up watching every Sunday as a kid.
"Never thought I would be here, being at that young age," Young said. "It's crazy. I'm ready to go."
During one of Washington's early training camp practices a couple of weeks ago, Young injured his hip. The injury wasn't anything major, but Washington decided to hold him out from a few practices as a precaution.
Since returning to action about one week ago, the pass rusher has been heavily involved in practice. He has also seen multiple reps with the starting unit since returning. To some, that may not be a big deal, especially since he will have a vital role in Washington's defense as a rookie regardless if he's listed as a starter or not.
However, getting to start would "mean a lot" for Young, as it would mark a full circle of his football journey thus far.
"It would definitely mean a lot, and a lot because I'd be playing on this field, but really because it's something I worked for my whole life," Young said. "To be able to go out and start, that would be a blessing."
However, whether he starts or not is a topic for another time. For the 21-year-old, he's simply focused on making sure he's in the right mindset for when Washington hosts the reigning division champion Philadelphia Eagles less than two weeks from now.
"Right now I'm just worried about getting this defense corrected, getting my head right," Young said. "That's the No. 1 priority."