To say the 2019 season for linebacker Nate Orchard was a whirlwind would be an understatement.

The 27-year-old had nearly double-digit tryouts with NFL clubs during the first 12 weeks of the season but failed to earn a contract with any of the teams. While unemployed, Orchard was installing windows on days he wasn't working out for an NFL squad.

The linebacker finally found a home when he was signed by the Redskins prior to the team's Week 13 matchup versus Carolina and remained with the team through the end of the year.

"It was a crazy process," the linebacker explained on Redskins Nation. "Last year, I had nine different tryouts in 12 weeks. Once I got to the Redskins, I didn't know what was to come, as if I was going to make the team, is if it was a tryout. The opportunity presented itself and they signed me. I went out there and gave everything I got, hoping to prove myself for the future." (Watch the full interview on Redskins Nation at 5:30 and 11:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington).

Orchard re-signed with the Redskins on a one-year deal this offseason, and is thrilled to be back with the team that gave him a chance a season ago.

"Oh man, I'm super excited to be back in the building with these guys," Orchard said.


With the Redskins, Orchard played in five games and recorded 14 tackles and one sack on the season. Orchard contributed on special teams too, blocking a punt in a Week 16 clash with the Giants.

But Orchard's best performance with the Redskins came against the Panthers, ironically new Redskins head coach Ron Rivera's final game with Carolina. The linebacker finished with a sack, two tackles for loss and recovered a fumble on the final play of the game to seal the victory for the Redskins. So, it made sense why he was quite emotional postgame.

"Playing against Coach Rivera and seeing how things unfolded, it's just crazy how things come full circle," Orchard said.

Although he didn't emerge as a regular starter, Orchard brought a positive mindset into the Redskins locker room. The linebacker credited his outlook towards the adversity he has faced in the past.

"I had been through a lot. I had my ups and downs, which we all have," Orchard said. "Coming from Cleveland, going 0-16, I had a little experience battling through those losses, but also what it means pushing through that adversity. So when I got [here] with the guys, I did everything I can to be that positive influence around them. I just wanted to brighten up the mood for the guys and have them enjoy going out there and play the game we all love so much."

Under new defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, the Redskins are switching from a 3-4 base to a 4-3. Throughout free agency, the Redskins have signed multiple players that can play several positions. Orchard believes his experience playing all over the field can help the club in 2020.

"Coming out of college, I was in a 4-3 scheme," Orchard said. "I was drafted in a 3-4, now back to a 4-3, so I've kind of bounced around. I have familiarity when it comes to playing different positions. I was even a 3-tech at one point. It's nice to have that versatility and bring that to the table for this team and this coaching staff going forward."

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