Dwayne Haskins will start at quarterback for the Washington Football Team this Sunday for the first time since Week 4.
Despite his benching and being inactive for multiple games, and everything else that happened over the last two months, Haskins' focus remains simple.
Play football and have fun.
"I’m looking forward to just getting out there and playing ball again," Haskins said Friday.
"At the end of the day, it’s supposed to be about playing football, it’s supposed to be about having fun. I’ve been playing quarterback since I was 10. Just trying to make it simple again, try to make it fun, try to find ways to keep getting better."
For Haskins, or really for anybody, it would be easy to view Sunday's game against the Seahawks as a second, or even final, opportunity to prove to Washington coach Ron Rivera that the second-year quarterback can be the team's future.
Haskins, however, doesn't view it in that prism.
"The things that have happened, it’s unfortunate. But life is hard, so what? Get over it. Best foot forward and that’s what I’m doing."
It's hard to listen to Haskins and not see a more mature person.
It was only in September he was the unquestioned starter for Washington. His teammates voted him captain before the season opener.
By October, he was third-string. He didn't even dress on game day.
That's a whirlwind of change and it came with a harsh reality check by Rivera, challenging Haskins to be more present in meetings and around the practice facility.
Only Haskins truly knows if the lessons worked, but he sure sounds like they did.
The 15th-overall pick in 2019, Sunday's game against Seattle will only be Haskins' 12th NFL start. He only started one year at Ohio State before he got to Washington.
The stats don't jump out, good or bad. Haskins has completed about 60 percent of his passes with 11 touchdowns against 10 interceptions in 14 NFL games. It's not great, or really even good, but the circumstances have always been hard too.
In 2019, a disinterested coaching staff probably had Haskins on the field before he was ready. Much of that trouble was actually created by ownership.
In 2020, Haskins got no offseason time with Rivera or offensive coordinator Scott Turner. There was no minicamp, no OTAs. Covid ruined all of that, and when Haskins finally got to work with the coaching staff, it wasn't terrific.
Even when the coach benched Haskins after the Week 4 loss to Baltimore, Rivera always said he believed the young passer could make it in the NFL if there was a commitment to the game.
Maybe that's happened now. Maybe dropping to third-string was the message Haskins needed.
Whether it's a second chance, a third chance, or even a final chance to prove himself, Haskins isn't concerned.
"Not worried about that," he said. "A chance is a chance and you’ve got to be ready for your opportunity."