Football Team

Here's what's allowed John Bates to excel in football — and javelin

Football Team

Washington tight end John Bates is obviously a successful football player, seeing as he's in that semi-popular league known as the NFL. But the Burgundy and Gold's fourth-round selection also starred in basketball and track in his high school days, and in talking to him, it's easy to understand why he's excelled across so many sports.

During an interview with the Washington Football Talk podcast that was recorded after a recent minicamp practice, Bates was asked what's necessary to win as a blocker besides simply buying into the less than glorious deed. That's when his deep appreciation for technique first revealed itself.

"I think technique is a huge thing," he said. "If you can't sink your hips, if you can't have good footwork if you can't land a block and drive with tight hands and maintain all that at the same time for four to six seconds, your chances of making it probably aren't high."

It wasn't the only time he'd bring up that word during his time on the podcast.

Close to the end of his chat, Bates' decorated past as a javelin thrower was mentioned — he won an Oregon state title in the event as a high schooler — which led to a discussion on what made him such a standout in that pursuit. He, once again, focused on the boiled-down approach to the task. 

"Technique's a really big one," Bates told the pod, before detailing two of his main keys (write 'em down if you want to improve at chucking a giant spear). "You have to have a certain hold on the little wrap on there... Javelin [throwing] is all over the top of the head. So you have to be very critical about that."


Now, as interesting as Bates' exploits on the track are, Washington fans will care far more about how well he performs on offense for coach Ron Rivera and coordinator Scott Turner.

Fortunately, the rookie already has his head in the right place when it comes to the often overlooked, but perhaps most vital, part of his job.

"I take tremendous pride in run blocking," Bates said. "The biggest thing for me is that, especially at this level, you run the ball to win the game. If you can't run the ball, it doesn't open anything else. You're kind of stuck."