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It's a year later than he wanted, but Derrius Guice is ready to reward the Redskins for taking a chance on him

It's a year later than he wanted, but Derrius Guice is ready to reward the Redskins for taking a chance on him

This time last year, 2018 second-round pick Derrius Guice was making a name for himself at Redskins training camp. With a vibrant personality and explosive running skill, expectations were high entering the 2018 season. Then, and ACL injury in Washington's first preseason game derailed all that hope.

After a long road to recovery, Guice is back at training camp as the 2019 season approaches. But, things are different this time around. Not only has his role on the team potentially changed with Adrian Peterson in the backfield mix, but on a much more personal level, Guice has changed as well.

Battling back from a low point in his career, the second-year version of the running back has taken the last year to mature. The injury may not have been what he hoped for, but it did allow him to gain a new perspective.

"Anytime you go through detrimental stuff like this, it changes you as a person. It changes your thought process. It changes your mentality. It changes how you look at things," Guice told NBC Sports Washington's JP Finlay.

A year ago, a main focus of Guice's was to prove his worth to some of the doubters. A slide to the second round had some people viewing him as a risk. For any young player trying to make it in the league, hearing negative words about yourself can be hard to shake.

"Coming off the draft I had I kind of had my back against the wall when I got here," Guice said. "I was really high on trying to impress everybody."

"I was never really worried about it, that was just somewhere in my mind," Guice added about the pressure to succeed. "What people were saying about me in the draft, how the Redskins took the chance that nobody else took. Obviously, I didn't want to disappoint."

The desire to be great is still there, but the concern now is less about proving it to others and more about doing what he can to help himself and the team perform at the highest level.

To do that, he's looking toward veterans as he navigates both an NFL season and the journey back from an injury. The last year has given him time to begin the growth process, but at just 22 years of age and no regular-season experience yet, there are still things to work on. Luckily for him, he's got a pretty good mentor to spend time with.

"Being a young guy, I have a lot of growing and a lot of learning to do," Guice said. "Having AP right now is not a bad start. He's one of those guys that went through the same injury I went through ."

Guice touched on the fact that Chris Thompson and Samaje Perine have experienced injuries as well, meaning the running back room has been able to share their journeys with one another. Yet, the veteran of the group Peterson is someone that they all look up to, especially Guice.

Not only has Peterson been able to help him in the recovery process, letting him know when to hydrate, when to stretch and what to do throughout the day, but he's someone that Guice and the other runners can look to whenever they have a question.

"We are all looking at him, he's that big brother and that leader that we need. We are all looking at him as the GOAT," Guice said. "He gives us all advice. Whenever we do a play we go to the sidelines and ask what he saw and what he thought. Same in the meeting room. When we are watching the film from practice, we are all looking at AP, asking him what he thinks and what he saw."

While he continues to grow and find himself with the Redskins, there's one part of Guice that will never change: his bubbly personality.

Look at him on the field at any time he's not in the middle of the play, you'll probably see him smiling and enjoying every moment. His infectious attitude quickly made him a loveable member of Redskins nation. That's always been something he's prided himself on, and he'll still be that guy in 2019.

"Just being me out there. Being hyper, having all the energy, bringing everybody together and stuff. That's why a lot called me a fan favorite, and that's why I get along with all the teammates well," Guice said. "I'm one of the guys that motivates, keep stuff going and tries to keep everybody up. Obviously, you got to lead by example. I'm always hyper, smiling and stuff."

"It's fun, not many guys get this opportunity to get to be in the National Football League. I don't take it for granted one day," he added.

Another thing that Guice won't change is how he plays on the field. When a player comes off an injury, especially in the leg area, there's always the wonder about how that will affect them not only physically, but mentally.

As Guice gets his legs back under him, that won't be the case. When he's out on the field, his past history with his knee is the last thing on his mind.

"When I'm on the field I'm never nervous. When I'm on the field I'm running. You can't think about getting hurt when you're on the field, because that's when more injuries happen. When you try to run different and run timid and scared, that's when bad things happen," Guice said. "So I'm still gonna run like me."

With a new perspective and the same old energy and explosiveness, Derrius Guice is back where he was almost a calendar year ago, but in a different environment. Chomping at the bit to get into some real game action, he has just one message to share.

"I'm back."

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Patriots release controversial WR Antonio Brown after just 11 days

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USA today Sports Images

Patriots release controversial WR Antonio Brown after just 11 days

The Antonio Brown Era in New England is over.

Brown, one of the most prolific wide receivers to ever play in the NFL, was released by the Patriots Friday afternoon, just 11 days after signing with the team.

Shortly after his release from the Raiders, which preceded his signing in New England, reports surfaced of sexual assault allegations being levied at Brown. The receiver was facing charges of rape from a former trainer, and it was initially unclear how much the Patriots knew about prior to his signing.

Brown did end up playing in Week 2, his first opportunity with the Patriots, in Miami. He caught four passes for 56 yards and a touchdown, in addition to rushing the ball once for a five-yard gain.

Late Thursday night, additional reports surfaced of intimidating texts sent by Brown to someone involved in his court case. Less than a day later, the receiver tweeted a farewell to his now former team.

Minutes later, the Patriots announced they had parted ways with Brown. 

The team released the following statement: “The New England Patriots are releasing Antonio Brown. We appreciate the hard work of many people over the past 11 days, but we feel that it is best to move in a different direction at this time.”

The investigation into the sexual assault allegations against Brown remains ongoing at this time.

The Redskins will host the Patriots in Week 5 of the 2019 NFL season.

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Jonathan Allen says '100 percent' chance he plays Monday night but questions remain for Redskins

Jonathan Allen says '100 percent' chance he plays Monday night but questions remain for Redskins

Jonathan Allen declared himself "100 percent" in for the Redskins Monday night game against the Bears. That's great news, except Allen might not have the final say in the matter.

The Redskins defensive captain and third-year defensive tackle sprained his knee Week 1 in Philadelphia and wanted to return in that game. He didn't, and subsequently, missed Week 2 against Dallas too. Washington head coach Jay Gruden explained that the team has to protect Allen, a fierce competitor, against himself. He doesn't want to miss any action, even if resting his injured knee might be the most prudent course. 

Asked what would happen if the medical staff tried to prevent him from playing in Monday's contest, Allen did not really respond but rather shake his head. 

Elsewhere on the team, there doesn't seem to be as much good news on the injury front.

The news on cornerback Quinton Dunbar doesn't seem encouraging.

"I don’t know about Dunbar. He was struggling a bit today," Gruden said after practice. The cornerback injured his knee against Philly and missed the Cowboys game. It would take some serious progress for Dunbar to play Monday night. 

The news seems even more concerning with tight end Jordan Reed. He hasn't played since sustaining a concussion in the third preseason game, and this week he practiced on Wednesday but didn't make it out on the field Thursday or Friday. At this point, the Redskins seem wise to move forward without Reed in the game plan as he works his way back from the concussion protocol. 

Further down the line, cornerback Fabian Moreau looks like he is tracking to return to the field against Chicago while questions keep popping up around safety Montae Nicholson. Gruden said Nicholson's absence was mainly for rest.