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Steven Sims has gone from feel-good story to a legitimately dangerous NFL player

Steven Sims has gone from feel-good story to a legitimately dangerous NFL player

In Terry McLaurin and Kelvin Harmon, the Redskins have a rookie receiver who's legitimately become one of the better outside threats in the NFL and another first-year wideout who's starting to show signs of true growth these past few weeks.

What Steven Sims has done in his debut season, though, is more surprising than both McLaurin's stardom and Harmon's recent improvement.

Sims wasn't drafted in April. Instead, he joined the Redskins for rookie minicamp in May, where he stood out, and then made his way down to Richmond for training camp, where he again stood out, and then was used often in the preseason, where he again stood out.

That promising run was enough to earn him a place on the Redskins' 53-man roster. Sims has since played in all 11 games for Washington in 2019 and on Sunday against the Lions, he ripped off a 91-yard kickoff return touchdown. He also has a 65-yard rushing score on his stat sheet.

In just a few months, he's gone from a no-name to a known name. This year is exceptionally light on encouraging developments for the Burgundy and Gold, but Sims is the biggest exception to that.

"He has unique quickness, sudden change," Callahan told reporters on Monday. "Sometimes, I think in the draft what happens is everyone’s looking for the great size and speed, and sometimes guys like Steven get overlooked at times, so it was a good job by our scouting department to pick him up, bring him in and have him excel at what he’s doing right now."

Sims' TD — the franchise's first on a kickoff since 2015 — started off with a bobble. No. 15 told JP Finlay after the game he misjudged the ball when it was in the air and it ended up glancing off of his shoulder and bouncing onto the FedEx Field grass. He quickly scooped it up, however, and weaved through Detroit's coverage unit before bursting up the sideline.

"I've been waiting all year for that," he said.

So far, Sims has 11 catches, six rushes and 26 kick returns. In all, that's 43 touches, with only 17 coming on offense. Guys like McLaurin, Derrius Guice and Adrian Peterson all need their targets and carries, sure, but Sims has done enough to warrant more looks, too.

Back when he was in charge, Jay Gruden would talk about how Sims was still quite raw, and Callahan also mentioned he's going through a "progression." Fortunately, Callahan did indicate on Monday that Sims could become more of a focal point in the Redskins' last five matchups. The interim coach explained that coaches want to put Sims in more one-on-one situations and take advantage of his explosiveness.

One thing that's confusing? The fact that Sims hasn't been given a chance to catch punts yet. Trey Quinn is barely averaging five yards a return at that spot and he hasn't displayed any of the agility or top-line speed that Sims has.

In response to a question about Sims taking that job over, Callahan merely said he's the backup and could have an opportunity at some point. That point should be now.

Regardless, Sims has proven he belongs in the league and, while he may never become a true, every-down wide receiver for the Redskins, he definitely has nailed down a role that could be his for quite some time. People began noticing him in the spring. Now, it's impossible not to notice him.     

"He's an amazing talent," Morgan Moses said. "You get the ball in his hand and you know a big play is going to come."

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Report: Redskins minority owners unsuccessfully tried to convince Dan Snyder to sell majority stake of franchise

Report: Redskins minority owners unsuccessfully tried to convince Dan Snyder to sell majority stake of franchise

Redskins minority owner and FedEx CEO Fred Smith, along with Washington's other two minority owners -- Robert Rothman and Dwight Schar -- want out of their stake in the franchise after unsuccessfully trying to convince majority owner Dan Snyder to sell his majority portion to them, according to Washington Times' columnist Thom Loverro.

This report comes just days after the Washington Post reported that Smith, Rothman, and Schar wanted out altogether, citing that the trio is "not happy being a partner" with Snyder. The three of them make up approximately 40 percent of the Redskins' ownership group.

This past Thursday, FedEx became one of the first major corporate sponsors of the Redskins to publicly place pressure on the franchise to change its name. Other companies such as Nike, which removed all Redskins' products from its website, along with Bank of America and PepsiCo followed shortly after.

FedEx's statement came after a report from AdWeek surfaced that a number of major investment firms told the company they would pull capital if the team's major sponsors didn't publicly pressure the franchise to change its name. 

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In response, the Redskins released a statement on Friday that the team is undergoing a "thorough review" of the team's name. Washington's new moniker will not have any Native American imagery, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter, but the team will reportedly keep its beloved burgundy and gold color scheme.

Both NBC Sports Washington and multiple other outlets have reported that the team will likely not play another game with 'Redskins' as its name.

RELATED: GET TO KNOW REDSKINS' MINORITY OWNER FRED SMITH

However, it could take some time for the franchise to finalize the process of changing the name, meaning the club could play the 2020 season without a team name.

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Why Lorenzo Alexander didn't speak up on Redskins' name when he was playing

Why Lorenzo Alexander didn't speak up on Redskins' name when he was playing

For the first six seasons of his NFL career, Lorenzo Alexander sported the Burgundy and Gold every Sunday. Alexander was one of the Redskins' best special teamers during his tenure in Washington and even earned a Pro Bowl nod in his final season with the team.

However, throughout his six seasons with Washington, the defensive lineman-linebacker hybrid never raised concern about the Redskins' name. Now, that has changed.

In an interview with 106.7 The Fan's Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier on Wednesday, Alexander explained his current stance on the team's name, as well as why he never chose to speak up on the issue when he was a player for Washington.

"What I'm about to say, obviously the name should be changed," Alexander said. "But I can be seen as hypocritical because I played for the team and never really said much of it."

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Over the past week, the Redskins have been publicly pressured by some of its largest corporate sponsors to change the name. In response, the team announced on Friday it was undergoing a review of the name, and a change appears to be on the horizon. 

For Alexander, it took time to be away from the team to truly understand the meaning behind the name Redskins. Now, more than ever before, he understands why the name may need to be a thing of the past.

"I think once you kind of step away from it and kind of analyze what the word means and the progression of it – because it wasn't always a derogatory name, but at some point, it got attached to killing of Native Americans," Alexander said. "There's obviously a group in the Native American community that feels that it is derogatory, and they've always shown up and always protested, even while I was there, as far as getting the name changed."

With the social justice movement and fight for racial equality in America in full effect following the killing of George Floyd, Alexander believes that it would have been "hypocritical" for him not to advocate for a name change.

"I think we can no longer kind of stand behind ignorance or the fact that it doesn't really impact me," Alexander said. "So as a black man in the community, [it] would be very hypocritical for me to say, 'No, I love the name! It doesn't impact me!' when my community is kind of in an uproar right now speaking out on the same thing to the white community as far as some of the things that we see and how our lives are impacted."

RELATED: NEW REDSKINS NAME WILL NOT CONTAIN NATIVE AMERICAN IMAGERY, PER REPORT

During the interview, Alexander repeatedly emphasized how important it is for people with a powerful voice to speak up about societal issues, as that is one of the best ways to create a meaningful change.

Alexander commended FedEx being the first Redskins' sponsor to publicly call for a change, even with the company having such a lucrative partnership with the team. Additionally, Alexander mentioned that he doesn't think the movement to change the name would be so strong had the company not publicly raised concern about it.

"Some are bigger than others and that's why it takes all of us to create change because if FedEx didn't jump on board, this probably wouldn't have got done," Alexander said. "And so by them including themselves in the conversation and for change, it allowed for change to occur, and that's why I think everybody's responsible for the direction of our country as we move forward."

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