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Even with Alex Smith being cleared to return, Brian Mitchell believes Dwayne Haskins is the future

Even with Alex Smith being cleared to return, Brian Mitchell believes Dwayne Haskins is the future

News shook the entire NFL community Friday evening when Washington Football QB Alex Smith was cleared to resume football activities per his personal doctors. 

Smith, who held a 6-4 record when healthy and was leading the then-Redskins atop the NFC East, suffered a gruesome broken leg in the middle of a football game in 2018.

Although cleared, NBC Sports Washington's Brian Mitchell believes Dwayne Haskins is still the future.

"I'm excited about Dwayne Haskins," Mitchell said. "I think Haskins has taken the necessary steps to make himself a pro-ready quarterback. He's lost weight, he's taken initiative to become more of a leader. So I  still think Dwayne is the future."

"When you look at the fact that Alex's contract takes him to the end of next year, you have to start thinking about those things too," Mitchell said. "Ultimately, if he can get back to what he once was it's a plus, but if he doesn't are you going to play a game or move forward with the young man?"

RELATED: IF ALEX SMITH CAN PLAY AGAIN, SHOULD WASHINGTON CONSIDER A TRADE?

Mitchell also went on to speak about the distinction between Smith being cleared to play by his personal doctors and not the Washington Football Team doctors — there's a vast difference between the two. 

"[Alex] Smith has been cleared by his personal doctors to play but he still has to be cleared by the Washington Football Team to play," Mitchell said. "We have to see if Smith cans till go out there, knowing what he's been through and still have the mental capacity to compete."

"And people may not want to hear this, but he's now going to be tested on the football field." 

In an interview with ESPN's Stephanie Bell, Smith said he has his eyes are on practice and the ability to put the NFL on notice once again.

"For me, all eyes are on practice," Smith told ESPN. "That's the next step. I have to go prove to myself and certainly to everybody else that I can go practice." 

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Brian Mitchell credits Ron Rivera for handling of allegations against former Washington execs

Brian Mitchell credits Ron Rivera for handling of allegations against former Washington execs

When reports surfaced this past weekend that two of Washington's top personnel men -- Alex Santos and Richard Mann II -- were let go, reasons behind the moves were unknown. Now, those questions seem to have an answer after news broke Thursday that Santos and Mann were among former executives alleged of sexual misconduct by 15 women in a Washington Post story.

Shortly after the story released, Washington head coach Ron Rivera told ESPN's John Keim that he "sure as hell [is] not going to allow any of this!” under his watch.

Former Washington running back and NBC Sports Washington analyst Brian Mitchell commended the head coach for how he's handled the situation, saying Rivera has taken these allegations towards former staffers "very seriously."

"When you look at it, everybody that was involved is no longer there," Mitchell said. "Ron Rivera and his staff seem to be moving forward doing the right things, exactly what you want to happen."

RELATED: WASHINGTON HIRES D.C. ATTORNEY TO TAKE DEEP DIVE IN TEAM'S CULTURE

By the time the Post's story released Thursday afternoon, none of the five alleged of misconduct remained with the organization. Santos and Mann were let go earlier this week, while the longtime voice of the team, Larry Michael, abruptly retired Wednesday. Former business executives Mitch Gershman and Dennis Green left the team in 2015 and 2018, respectively.

Since Rivera took over as the team's head coach in early January, he's repeatedly talked about changing the culture in Ashburn. In the months since, he hasn't shied away from moving on from players that didn't want to buy-in to his long-term vision, shipping both Trent Williams and Quinton Dunbar out of town this offseason. Additionally, Rivera made the decision to cut Montae Nicholson, an undisciplined safety on the field with a lot of baggage off of it.

For Mitchell, the head coach's decision to get rid of Santos and Mann was another step in the right direction in changing the culture.

"I believe you can't go silent on this. You have to address it, and somebody has to come out and give you a plan as to what's going to happen in the future," Mitchell said. "Ron Rivera came in and said he wants to change the culture, and I believe that culture was not just on the football field, it was about off the field, too. So when you see people immediately out of the building because something like this came up, you have to give him credit for what he's doing."

Between the pandemic, the team's eventual name change, and now harassment allegations towards former staffers, Rivera has been through plenty in his first seven months on the job. Mitchell is impressed with how the head coach has handled everything that's been thrown at him this offseason.

"Allow Ron to do what he's been doing," Mitchell said. "People are talking about 'He just got here,' well, he got here. He's got more accomplished in the short time he's been here than the guys that have been around."

To conclude, Mitchell said hiring a head coach in Rivera, someone who didn't have previous ties with the franchise prior to coming to Washington, is what the organization needed to turn the culture around.

"Maybe, just maybe what we needed was somebody who was not involved and close-knit with this franchise, and they will see things in a different light," Mitchell said.

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Brian Mitchell passionately explains why name change shouldn't matter: 'What are you really losing?'

Brian Mitchell passionately explains why name change shouldn't matter: 'What are you really losing?'

An 87-year era of Washington football came to an end on Monday when the franchise announced it was retiring the name 'Redskins' and the team's current logo. 

Former Washington running back and NBC Sports Washington analyst Brian Mitchell believes it was time for the change to be made.

"A lot of people seem to be getting upset, but I don't see a problem with it," Mitchell said. "I think it was about time. You look at the climate and what's going on right now, and I think the name had to go."

Mitchell also emphasized that just because the team is no longer called the 'Redskins,' the memories fans have with the team while that was the name will never go away.

"When you look at it, what are you really losing? Are you losing anything? No. You're still going to have the memories," Mitchell said. "You're going to have the players that played, the Darrell Green's, the Sammy Baugh's, the Sonny Jurgensen's, the Bobby Mitchell's. Those guys are still going to be there. You have those memories."

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The franchise accomplished plenty during its 87 years with the moniker: Three Super Bowl titles, two NFL championships and more than 30 former players inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Those accomplishments aren't going anywhere.

Even prior to the name change, the team was entering a new era of Washington football. Longtime team president Bruce Allen was let go this offseason, while Ron Rivera was brought in as head coach. The team has a young quarterback in Dwayne Haskins, a star in the making in pass-catcher Terry McLaurin, and a generational prospect in recent draftee Chase Young.

Mitchell says this new era can bring fans new memories, ones they'll cherish just like the old ones.

"Now you have guys like Chase Young, Dwayne Haskins, Terry McLaurin," he said. "They can make new memories for you."

RELATED: B-MITCH DOESN'T BELIEVE NAME CHANGE WILL IMPACT WASHINGTON'S BOND WITH COMMUNITY

With the change, there is a certain group of Washington fans that are upset by the move. But for those fans upset by the removal of the name, Mitchell has a simple question: Why?

"That's the thing about it. People act as if they were cheering for the name. But no, you were cheering for the players," Mitchell said. "You were cheering because of the relationships that you got with the players. The players were playing for the fans, and that can still be there."

For Mitchell, it's always been about supporting the players and the city, never the team name. The franchise's leader in all-purpose yards said regardless of what the team's new name will be, he'll be fully supportive of it.

"If you're going to support your team, you're going to support it no matter what," Mitchell said. "They're in this area, they bring pride to this area, and winning is going to change everything. Whatever the name is going to be, Brian Mitchell will be supportive, 100 percent."

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