After being one of the most anticipated offensive signings of last offseason, Washington wide receiver Curtis Samuel’s 2021 campaign did not turn out as he had hoped.
Thanks to seemingly never-ending muscle injuries, Samuel only appeared in five games with six catches for 27 yards and zero touchdowns. He also rushed the ball four times for 11 yards.
“It was frustrating, you know. It was really tough, it was probably one of my toughest years mentally,” Samuel told reporters via a Zoom call on Monday as Washington's players broke for the offseason. “I really think I learned a lot from this year. And I think the feeling I have now going into this offseason is kind of like really scary because I feel like I'm going to get so much better.”
Samuel said he wants to return for the Burgundy & Gold in 2022 and hopes to be more of a threat next year. He also said that he currently feels the best he’s felt physically all season, which could be a bit of encouraging news for WFT fans if disappointing because the campaign has ended and it's too late to matter.
However, it was still tough for Samuel to slog through an entire season without being able to contribute as much as he, or the coaching staff, hoped.
“You really just can't take this game for granted,” Samuel said. “You just never know, you just might have a year at a time where you can't play football and you don't realize how frustrating that is for you to not really be out there … if I can't go out there and be the player that I want to be, then I'm not trying to put bad film on tape. I want to go out there and be the player they brought me here to be.”
Before arriving in Washington, Samuel spent four seasons as a Carolina Panther. He was known for his durability during that time as he played in at least 13 games three of those four years.
Samuel still has two years left on his contract with WFT. If healthy, he should be able to give Scott Turner’s offense a boost and relieve some of the receiving brunt that lands on teammate Terry McLaurin, who just capped his second consecutive 1,000-yard season.
Washington will have personnel choices to make all over the roster this summer, but Samuel’s contract and mindset will enable him to focus his energy on ensuring his health for the 2022 season.
“Going into the offseason, I'm mentally focused, locked in and just really ready to go," Samuel said. "I haven't felt this way in a really long time. I'm going to put in so much work to try to put myself and put the team in the best position next year to win games.”