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Despite some tears, youth football helped Chris Thompson discover his love for the game

Despite some tears, youth football helped Chris Thompson discover his love for the game

Maybe Chris Thompson was always destined to end up with the Washington Redskins.

When the running back first stepped onto the gridiron growing up, the team he played for ended up being the same one he'd enter the NFL with.

“My little league team just so happened to be the Redskins," Thompson told NBC Sports Washington.

From a Pop Warner to the pros, he still carries the memories of his youth football days as they played a major part in molding him into the player he is today. Yet, it wasn't all positives.

For someone as talented and explosive as Thompson, one would probably expect instant success for the running back. However, his first season was quite the opposite.

“My first year, we lost every single game," he said. "So I went home crying every single day. After every single game, because I hated to lose.”

While going through a season with no wins is probably enough to deter a lot of young kids from a sport, Thompson wasn't ready to give up. He ultimately came back for another season and things quickly turned around.

“The next year, we went undefeated," Thompson said. “I literally got tackled one time the whole season.”

As the saying goes, the rest is history.

That experience alone has helped prepare Thompson for his future in the NFL. It was "added motivation" for a young Thompson growing up with the game. 

Throughout his career, he's already had to bounceback from injuries and doubts. He entered the league at an undersized 5-8 and has battled injuries in college and as a professional. Coming back is what he does. 

Though that first season may have not been the most enjoyable experience for a young Thompson, he's forever grateful for his early playing days. Now, being at the highest level of football, he understands the impact it had.

“It’s fun man. I feel like you really start to, you build friendships through sports big time. It’s just those moments back then, even through high school, you won't forget cause it’s just fun," Thompson said. "You’re just having fun, being able to play the game you love and nothing else really matters.”

“I feel like that’s when you really start to love the game of football."

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Montae Nicholson says it was his decision to play days after death at his home

Montae Nicholson says it was his decision to play days after death at his home

Speaking publicly for the first time since missing practice after participating in an investigation into the death of 21-year-old Julia Crabbe, Montae Nicholson thanked the Redskins organization and his teammates for their support.

Nicholson, who played just days after Crabbe's drug overdose death at his home, said the decision to play in last Sunday's game against the Jets was difficult but was his alone.

"It was, without a doubt," Nicholson said of how hard the decision to play. "But, you know, at the end of the day, it was my decision. I wasn't forced into anything. It wasn't easy at all trying to separate the field from everything that was going on."

According to reports, Nicholson found Crabbe collapsed in his bathroom. He took her to a nearby hospital, where she was later pronounced dead. Nicholson is reported to be cooperating with investigators looking into the victim's death. 

When speaking to reporters on Thursday, Nicholson asked that the media respect his privacy and said he wouldn't be taking questions on the legal situation. 

"This week has been extremely hard on not only myself but Julia's friends and family, as well. I would appreciate if you all respect my privacy while everything is going on," he said. "At this time, I will only be taking questions on responding to and about the Lions this week. I'm sorry."

He has practiced all week in advance of the Lions and is expected to play on Sunday. Diving into football, he said, has been a large part of his coping with the tragedy. 

"It's been rough, to say the least. But, you know, with my teammates and friends who aren't in the state or just aren't around here, the head office made it very well known that they have my back in everything that was going on and if I needed anything, just to talk or anything like that, they made that known that the door was wide open," he said. 

Nicholson said having the team's support means a lot to him. 

"They could've shut the door on me and turned their backs, but they didn't," he said. "And that just speaks volumes to the type of program I'm a part of. I'm extremely grateful to be here and to still be here."

This isn't Nicholson's first off-field incident during his time with the Redskins. He finished the 2018 season under suspension after being arrested for a fight outside of a Loudon County restaurant. Those charges were later dropped. 

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Derrius Guice understands why Redskins fans are frustrated, but he's looking ahead

Derrius Guice understands why Redskins fans are frustrated, but he's looking ahead

Derrius Guice is a very positive person. Unfortunately, he's playing for a team right now that's shrouded in negativity.

The Redskins have played 10 games this season, and they've walked off the field as losers in nine of those contests. They've gotten rid of their head coach, and many are wondering how many other major changes will come.

And when it comes to the fans, many — if not most — are furious with the direction of the franchise. Guice is noticing that, too.

"It just sucks when I score, or someone else scores, and our team posts a picture to Instagram or Twitter and everything under it is just, 'Fire this, fire that, we suck," Guice told JP Finlay in a 1-on-1 interview on the Redskins Talk podcast. "That doesn't help anything."

The running back understands that frustration. However, he wants those who are angry to know one thing: While this current roster is obviously responsible for the 2019 issues, they aren't responsible for the two-decade-long slump that's affected the organization.

"I'm new here," Guice said. "I understand some of these fans have been here 20-30 years, but like, there's a lot of guys on this team that are new. Y'all can't bring all that negativity to us like we've been here 20 years. I don't think that's fair to us players."

That's what makes this situation so difficult for those on the field and those who watch those on the field. Fans have been on this unsatisfying ride for far too long, yet most of the players hopped on a stop or two ago. 

So people who post those hateful comments or send those angry DMs are doing so because they've seen a handful of free agency and draft classes bust, and because they've seen numerous coaches come in and fail, and they've been lied to repeatedly about how "close" the Redskins are. They aren't necessarily trying to take it out on Guice or Dwayne Haskins or Landon Collins, it just appears that way.

Guice, for one, is aiming to improve how he handles that side of being an athlete. He's also choosing to focus on those who've stayed on his side through what's been a tumultuous first couple of seasons in the league.

For all the negativity he encounters, he's grateful for those who remain positive like him.

"A guy that's been there two years and has only played two real games, there's a lot of fans that have still never left my side since I got drafted," Guice said. "That's something I always have to cherish."

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