Redskins

Seattle rookie Bruce Irvin ready for starting role

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Seattle rookie Bruce Irvin ready for starting role

RENTON, Wash. (AP) Bruce Irvin has always fed off the doubt of others, whether it came as he tried to turn his life around as a youth or when he was panned as being a reach when the Seattle Seahawks drafted him in the first round last April.

``I love reading all the negative stuff. ... That's just the type of person I am,'' Irvin said on Wednesday. ``I love to see what people say about me because it's funny. I take that in mind and I bust my butt and it just makes me work harder.''

The latest doubt Irvin will try and erase comes Sunday when the Seahawks face the Falcons in the divisional round of the NFC playoffs.

Irvin will make the first start of his career after starting defensive end Chris Clemons was lost for the season to a torn ACL and meniscus in his left knee in last Sunday's playoff win over Washington.

For most of his rookie season, Irvin has thrived being used on passing downs as a rush end opposite Clemons. Getting pressure from both sides on quarterbacks has worked well for Seattle with Clemons getting 11 1/2 sacks and Irvin having another eight in the regular season to set a franchise rookie record.

Now that Clemons is out, Irvin will be called on not only to pressure the quarterback, but also be stout in the run game.

``I'm still depressed that (Clemons) is down. He's like an older brother to me. He showed me a lot, man,'' Irvin said. ``Next year, I'll be in this same role, me and (Clemons) rotating and whatever. I'm not looking to come in here and ball out and take over (Clemons') spot. I'm not looking for that. My time will come and when it's that time it will all handle itself.''

Going to Atlanta is a homecoming for Irvin, who had a troubled childhood that included a couple of weeks in jail as a teenager.

But he's pleased that his first start will come in front of family that won't need to get on a plane to see him play.

``It's going to be bittersweet,'' Irvin said. ``(I'm) happy that my family doesn't have to take a five-hour plane ride to come and see me play and just to be back around in that territory and the people that first were to doubt me.''

Irvin got his share of snaps last week versus Washington after Clemons went down early in the third quarter. His biggest play came in the fourth quarter after Seattle had taken a 21-14 lead, when Irvin stayed with the play and chased down Robert Griffin III for a 12-yard sack.

Griffin fumbled a low snap and crumpled to the ground in pain on the next play, where Seattle recovered the fumble and led to a field goal that gave Seattle a 10-point lead.

Irvin said being in on every play helped him get into the flow of the game more.

``I think it's a plus, I think that's what really helped me last week,'' he said. ``I got into a zone and got the feeling of what my man's strengths and weaknesses were. So I think that really is a plus and we'll see how it goes.''

Irvin will be helped this week by the Falcons' propensity to throw. Seven times this season Atlanta threw the ball at least 40 times. The Falcons ran the ball more than 25 times just once over the final eight weeks of the season.

That would seem to play to Irvin's strengths. But getting a consistent pass rush has been a problem for Seattle, now amplified by the loss of Clemons. Irvin had the only sack of Griffin last week after the Seahawks had just one sack the final two weeks of the regular season.

``I think he's got more sacks in him,'' Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. ``I think it's been a terrific year, I think he can be a double-digit sack guy once he gets it going.''

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Jay Gruden on Trent Williams' holdout: 'No updates whatsoever'

Jay Gruden on Trent Williams' holdout: 'No updates whatsoever'

The Redskins are now less than three weeks away from taking the field in Philadelphia to kick off their regular season on Sept. 8, and Washington's cornerstone left tackle has still yet to report to the team.

As the Burgundy and Gold gear up for their third preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday, left tackle Trent Williams continues to hold out.

After the Redskins practice on Monday concluded, head coach Jay Gruden was asked if he had any updates on the situation. He immediately shot that down.

"There are no updates whatsoever," he said.

The third preseason game is usually the 'dress rehearsal' for the regular season, with the starters playing close to a half before the reserves enter. But No. 71 still remains absent from Redskins Park and has given the team zero indication whether he plans on returning or not.

For now, Washington must roll with the players they have present. 

"We're preparing with the guys we have right now," Gruden said. "That's all we can do. We're getting Geron [Christianson] ready. We're getting [Donald] Penn ready. So we'll go that route."

Throughout his holdout, Williams has chosen to remain silent. He has not spoken publicly once since the start, and the actual reasons he has still yet to show up still remain in the rumor phase. He has reportedly made it clear he doesn't plan to return, and other teams have reached out about a potential trade.

Redskins running back Adrian Peterson, one of Williams' longtime close friends, doesn't even know what Williams plans to do.

"I shot my shot. I know how Trent is, so I just left it alone," Peterson told reporters last week. "After we talked that first time about it, I wasn't going to be the guy that was going to pester him or anything like that... I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't come back, and if he did, I wouldn't be surprised. That's honestly where I sit."

When asked on Monday if he had communicated with Williams during his absence, Gruden refused to give reporters a clear answer.

"Talked? Maybe," Gruden said on his communication with the Redskins' Silverback. "Texted, talked, maybe. It is what it is right now. He's not here, so we're going to talk about the people we have."

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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 Redskins.

When the running first partook in the game of football 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 an explosive as Thompson, one would probably expect him to have a great amount of success from the start of his football days. But, 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.”

We've all been there. Losing a game as a kid, no matter what the circumstance is, can be heartbreaking. I would be lying if I said I never had a meltdown or two on the little league field when I couldn't find the strike zone.

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 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.”

A 180-degree change in the following year, Thompson and his teammates enjoyed a lot more success and fun. The running back said the one tackle came in the championship game, and that he racked up plenty of touchdowns during that campaign.

As a young kid, being able to rebound from a low moment and come out on top is something that Thompson has carried with him throughout his entire career. Battling back from injuries and doubts, he's always been someone who wants to do better every time he steps on the field.

“So it was just kind of, as a young kid, added motivation for me," Thompson said about his youth football experiences.

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. Even 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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