For Washington Football Team rookie defensive end Chase Young, his introduction to the NFL has been anything but ordinary. It feels like his virtual selection in the 2020 NFL Draft was years ago and the training camp that followed was something never seen before.
Still, as he is set to finally take the field for Washington on Sunday, Young looks to be the real deal. His performance in August was filled with highlight-reel moves, and he has carried himself as a true professional throughout.
That’s not an easy task for any rookie who finds himself thrown into professional sports and stardom, much less one doing it during a global pandemic. But Young has shined. A story by The Washington Post shows that Young's inner circle has played a huge role in his preparation for 2020 and beyond.
Post reporter Sam Fortier spoke with some of Young’s closest confidants that included his family, agent, trainer and manager. Each one has helped Young get to where he is today.
Damarius Bilbo of Klutch Sports Group is Young’s agent, but his relationship with the rising star goes beyond just contract negotiations. Working for the same agency that represents the likes of LeBron James, the goal is to help players succeed during their time as an athlete and beyond.
Young has the same mindset. While making money in the NFL is important, he doesn’t want the end of his football days to mean the end in total. Working with Bilbo, he’s been able to get off the right foot fiscally and lay the groundwork for his future.
“These are people who didn’t just get drafted number two and say, ‘We made it,’” Bilbo said to the Post. “These are people that say, ‘We got drafted number two and it’s just beginning.’ That’s what I saw when I saw Chase Young’s team.”
Off the field, Bilbo helps, but on the field trainer Martin Gibson has become crucial to Young. Remember the daily insane workout videos Young was putting out through the spring and summer months? That was Gibson who was helping him get the work in.
A running backs coach at DeMatha High School -- where Young shined -- the two have partnered in order to get the defensive end ready for football even when in-person team workouts weren’t plausible. It’s not just about staying in shape, either, but pushing the limits so that Young can live up to -- and even shatter -- those high expectations.
“There’s a big target on his back, and there’s a lot of pressure,” Gibson told the Post. “But he’s worked hard enough. He’s ready for it.”
One of the most important support groups anyone can have is their family, and Young’s inner circle certainly has that.
Young’s parents, Greg and Carla Young, as well as his sister, Weslie, have been there for him throughout his entire journey toward the NFL. The defensive end also has his manager, Ian Thomas, whom Young considers family.
From his early years, Greg and Carla made sure to teach Young a strong work ethic, while also being his No. 1 fans. As he enters the NFL, both those things still show themselves on a daily basis.
So when Young takes his first snap of professional football at FedEx Field on Sunday, it won’t just be the culmination of his work over the years, but the help of his inner circle, too.