During his Thursday interview with the Redskins Talk podcast at Super Bowl LIV, Ron Rivera was very clear that he didn't want to identify who his core Redskins players are for at least a few more weeks.
But then, Terry McLaurin appeared for his own segment with the podcast, which forced the head coach's hand.
"Well, I can tell you this much," Rivera said as McLaurin took a seat two spots to Rivera's right. "He most certainly is."
In Rivera, Washington has turned the franchise over to someone with a sterling reputation, a leader who demands the most out of everyone in the building and one who has a very clear vision for reinvigorating his new team.
In McLaurin, Washington has a receiver with an attitude like a special teamer, a rising star who is consistently productive on the field and desperate for tutelage off of it.
Essentially, they're the ideal match. And their following conversation further illustrated what could be a deep connection for years to come.
"Here's a young man, when you put the tape on, you see a guy that competes," Rivera said of the 2019 third-round pick.
Rivera then went on an unrelated semi-rant, preaching the importance of teaching players his system as well as how he intends to build the Burgundy and Gold from the ground up, focusing on the details and usually overlooked aspects.
McLaurin alternated between nodding his head and stifling a smile throughout Rivera's words.
"You hear the passion in his voice?" McLaurin said when it was his turn. "I got to meet Coach Rivera at the Combine last year and we formed a great relationship there in just a short amount of time. And I got to rekindle that coming back to Ashburn and meeting with him and the staff. I think his vision is great. He's a guy who's trying to build his team on toughness first. I really believe that."
One of the qualities Rivera appreciates about McLaurin most is the wideout's maturity. While with Ohio State, he was a two-time captain, and as soon as he arrived in D.C., his sparkling intangibles were obvious. He's one of many in the franchise's past three draft classes with traits like that, per Rivera.
"That's the type of guy we want around us," Rivera said.
Now, there was one point of their interaction where the two members of the Burgundy and Gold didn't necessarily align.
Rivera, taking the grand view as someone tasked with fixing an operation that's been failing for decades now, explained how he wants fans to be patient with the process, as it may take a year or two to correct course. McLaurin, however, was feeling a little more swept up by the Super Bowl atmosphere in Miami.
"That's the first thing I said when I got here," McLaurin told Redskins Talk. "I met with my agent and said, 'I've got to play in this game. I have to.'"
Hey, they can't agree on everything.
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