Commanders

Rivera on no Young, Sweat at OTAs: 'It is voluntary'

Commanders

The Washington Football Team had 86 players present for the voluntary Organized Team Activity (OTA) practice session on Tuesday, but two of Washington's biggest defensive stars -- pass rushers Chase Young and Montez Sweat -- were not in attendance.

Speaking with local media via Zoom following Tuesday's session, head coach Ron Rivera was asked if there was anything more to Young and Sweat's decision not to attend. 

"I know they've talked to their position coaches," Rivera said. The thing that we stress is that it is voluntary. You'd love to have everybody here, especially because we've got 86 guys [here]. It'd be nice to have everybody. But I get it. Guys are entitled to do the things they feel they need to do right now. They're both good, young, solid football players and the thing is, they'll be here when they're here."

While Washington's two starting edge rushers didn't show, Rivera repeatedly said during his 15-minute presser how thankful and fortunate he feels to have most of the roster present for the voluntary sessions.

"I think it speaks well to the mentality and attitude of our players right now," the head coach said.

RELATED: See Ryan Fitzpatrick in a WFT uniform

Despite winning the NFC East in 2020, the Washington Football Team has had a lot of roster turnover this offseason.

Washington parted with multiple longtime franchise staples -- Ryan Kerrigan, Morgan Moses and Nick Sundberg, to name a few -- but brought in a plethora of young talent, such as Curtis Samuel, William Jackson III, Jamin Davis and others.

 

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All this goes without mentioning that the team has a new starting quarterback, too, in 38-year-old journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick.

"There's good energy in this building," Fitzpatrick said via Zoom post-practice.

With plenty of new faces in Ashburn, Rivera thinks players have prioritized attending these voluntary practices in order to help grow and develop with their new teammates.

"I think our guys understand that we're a fairly new team with a lot of new faces from last year," Rivera said. "To get together, to work together, to develop, I think our guys have seen the importance and significance of this. I'm really grateful that they're here. I truly am. And I appreciate them being here."