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The 15 days that forever changed Washington's NFL team

The 15 days that forever changed Washington's NFL team

The NFL schedule is never quiet, but normally, July is at least an opportunity for teams to dial it back. Free agency and the draft are well over with and training camps have yet to commence. It's the closest thing the league has to a pause in its programming.

Washington's July, though, hasn't resembled a pause at all. If anything, the month has been part rewind, part fast forward and fully and totally chaotic.

It may also end up being regarded as the most consequential stretch in the organization's history. And yes, that includes the Super Bowl wins.

Below is a timeline meant to look back on the 15 days that have forever altered the franchise.

What started on July 1 as a rumbling quickly erupted. The short-term impact of these past few weeks is already enormous; the long-term impact, while unknown, should only grow. What's unfolded recently has been absurd, even for an operation known to feature its fair share of absurdities.

July 1

A collection of 87 shareholders and investment firms asked major companies, such as Nike, FedEx and PepsiCo, to end any relationship with the then-Redskins until they changed their name.

Together, that group of 87 was estimated to be worth more than $600 billion. With a B. 

Dan Snyder had faced plenty of outside pressure before in regards to what his team was called. This was the first signal that he was about to encounter something far more intense this time around.

July 2

One day later, FedEx formally asked Washington to change its name. In that same window, Nike pulled all of the team's merchandise from its website.

Those were big moves made by heavy hitters. More importantly, they were the kind of moves that couldn't be ignored or waited out. Oh, and the founder of FedEx is also a minority owner in Washington's football team.

July 3

With the external noise increasing, a press release hit reporters' inboxes and social media timelines everywhere announcing that there'd be a "thorough review" of the name.

"This process allows the team to take into account not only the proud tradition and history of the franchise but also input from our alumni, the organization, sponsors, the National Football League and the local community it is proud to represent on and off the field," Snyder said in the statement.

Seeing that shift come from the man who once proclaimed he'd "never" give in on the issue hinted at just how different this process would be.

July 4

Ron Rivera told the Washington Post that he'd like the organization to rebrand before the 2020 season. 

"We want to do this in a positive way," Rivera said.

One question circulated after that quote made its way around the Internet: Would that even be possible?

July 6

Following the holiday weekend, attention turned back toward Washington on Monday. For a place accustomed to the spotlight, this still had to feel bright.

The national media all had their first chance to react to the Friday review announcement. Target and Walmart followed Nike's example and removed Burgundy and Gold merchandise from its online stores. Proposals for the next moniker began flying in from everywhere.

Not all fireworks are fired on the Fourth of July after all.

July 7-10

The rest of the week flew by and also dragged at the same time. 

Talk radio shows took countless calls from people convinced they have the best suggestion. Diehard supporters proceeded to wonder if they'll be able to root for a squad that's known by something else on the scoreboard and will wear a never-before-seen logo on its helmets. 

But an additional story also emerged: The non-Snyder owners wished to sell their stakes. At first, they reportedly aimed to get Snyder to divest. When that didn't happen, however, they chose to look for their own way out.

For now, that subplot mostly remained in the background.  

July 13

The old name finally is retired. Well, pretty much.

10 days after opening its review, Washington declared that its previous label and logo will be no more — in a release where that label was used on multiple occasions.

Backlash over how that decision was handled was fierce. Regardless, it was still a massive turning point in D.C. that sends ripples across the league, nation and world.

July 14 and 15

Tweets from both local and national media caused quite a stir — yet the posts had nothing to do with rumors about the name.

Instead, buzz mounted about a lurking story that was expected to come from somewhere and expose something about the team's culture. That buzz eventually morphed into all-out panic and conspiracies about what (and who) was slated to be exposed.

Warriors? Red Tails? Red Wolves? No one seemed to care about any of that anymore.

July 16

The last chapter of this saga — for now — was the Washington Post report that finally arrived. And it was scathing.

While Snyder wasn't accused by any of the 15 women in the Post's story who alleged widespread sexual misconduct in the franchise — which some outsiders expected — he still was in charge while other executives and other employees acted inapropriately. 

The story capped what was an especially hectic few hours, during which Washington hired an esteemed lawyer and the minority owners took another step toward selling. Rivera, meanwhile — who's dealt with more these past six months than many coaches run into in six years — was left to look ahead.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    

Before the 2020 calendar turned to July, the Redskins still existed. The biggest, known problem they faced was figuring out how to get a young roster ready in a pandemic. Optimism was even rising, thanks to Rivera, Dwayne Haskins and Chase Young. 

Everything is different now. Everything. They've lost their name, but that pales in comparison to what else they've lost, plus the trouble they've picked up. And all it took was 15 days.


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Terry McLaurin embracing No. 1 wide receiver role in second year with Washington

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Terry McLaurin embracing No. 1 wide receiver role in second year with Washington

NBC Sports Washington's JP Finlay sat down for an exclusive interview with second-year Washington Football Team wide receiver Terry McLaurin. To catch the full interview, listen to the latest edition of the Washington Talk Podcast.

Terry McLaurin's spectacular rookie season with Washington a year ago is well documented by now. 

As the 24-year-old enters his second year in the NFL, the expectations for him are extraordinarily high. McLaurin, the 12th wide receiver selected in the 2019 draft, won't have the ability to sneak up on teams in 2020; he'll be the first player Washington's opponents will hone in on when scouting the Burgundy and Gold.

In an exclusive interview with NBC Sports Washington's JP Finlay, McLaurin said he's ready to embrace the challenges and responsibilities that come with being the team's top offensive threat.

"My job, I feel like, is to be a guy that can be that go-to guy, be the receiver when we need a play, we're going to Terry there's no doubt about it," McLaurin said to Finlay. "I want to be that guy. I expect to be that person."

McLaurin has a plan for himself to make sure he remains that No. 1 option, too. That plan starts with establishing trust with his quarterback, coaches, and teammates.

"It's just a matter of making sure I form that trust in the offensive staff, in the quarterbacks, and in all my teammates as well, is to be that guy each and every down," he said.


Washington's offense was among the league's worst a year ago, but McLaurin churned out impressive performances week in and week out. As a rookie, No. 17 accounted for nearly a third of Washington's receiving yards and just under half of the team's receiving touchdowns.

Additionally, McLaurin became the first player in NFL history to have five or more catches and a touchdown in each of his first three NFL games.

Excluding McLaurin, Washington's wide receiver unit has a ton of question marks. Second-year wideout Steven Sims, who showed plenty of promise last December, is likely to start in the slot. But who will play on the outside opposite of McLaurin remains a mystery.

Many expected Washington to add a star on the outside in free agency to complement McLaurin, but the team missed out on the top pass-catcher on the market when Amari Cooper turned down more money from Washington to stay in Dallas.

Kelvin Harmon was going to have a chance to be Washington's No. 2 wide receiver, but he tore his ACL earlier this offseason. The team has added two veterans in Cody Latimer and Dontrelle Inman, but neither has shown much production throughout their career.

McLaurin knows there's a lot of uncertainty within his position group, but is confident in the bunch that Washington has.

"We have a lot of guys who may not have what they call a 'sexy name,' the name or the notoriety," McLaurin told Finlay. "But we got a lot of hungry guys looking to make a name for themselves and this team. I feel like when you have that, with a hungry coaching staff, that makes for a good relationship."


Earlier this week, McLaurin expressed his excitement for playing in Scott Turner's up-tempo style of offense. The second-year receiver reiterated his thrill to play under Turner, citing the success of that previous top targets such as D.J. Moore and Josh Gordon have had playing in Turner's system.

"I'm just looking forward to being in a new offense as well. The offense is going to be very explosive," McLaurin said. "You've seen the track record with guys they've had in that offense. Especially those go-to guys, they've had some pretty big numbers and had a lot of success. Going into Year 2, I feel like I'm versatile enough to play inside and outside and looking forward to seeing that's a possibility for me."

As for his overall expectation for the wide receiver group, McLaurin admitted he's not sure what it should be. Yet, he said that he's confident in the group if they have the right mentality, one where they "do what's asked of us every single day and see where it takes us."

But for himself, McLaurin is ready to prove that his rookie season was no fluke and truly establish himself as one of the game's best pass-catchers.

"I feel very confident going into my second year," McLaurin said. "I feel like while I had success [as a rookie], there's a lot of things that I can improve on. I feel like the game will even slow down for me even more."

Stay connected to the team with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.


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Thomas Davis is excited for Reuben Foster's return: 'He was born to play the linebacker spot'

Thomas Davis is excited for Reuben Foster's return: 'He was born to play the linebacker spot'

Washington linebackers Thomas Davis and Reuben Foster are at two very different points in their respective NFL careers.

The former is entering his 15th NFL season and is on the tail-end of an incredible career, while the latter is still trying to find his place in the NFL. The two are separated by 11 years in age.

Yet, both linebackers are expected to have significant roles in Washington's defense come this fall, a team they have yet to play a snap for. In a Zoom conference call with local media on Friday, Davis shared his excitement for what Foster has the chance to bring to Washington's defense.

"Reuben is a physical specimen," Davis said. "I was telling somebody the other day you have people who are born to play a position. When you look at Reuben, he’s one of those guys. I feel like he was born to play the linebacker spot."


It's been a long and windy road -- both on and off the field -- for Foster since Washington claimed him off of waivers in November of 2018.

Foster was released two years ago by San Francisco after two separate domestic violence accusations. Washington claimed the linebacker, yet he would not play for the team at all that season after immediately landing on the Commissioner's Exempt List.

Later that year, Foster's former girlfriend recanted her testimony on the first incident, and charges were dropped on the second. The linebacker got clearance from the NFL to play shortly after.

Foster returned to the field for OTAs in 2019, but his first practice with his new team ended rather quickly. On just the third snap of the session, Foster suffered a gruesome, non-contact knee injury, tearing multiple ligaments. His recovery took longer than usual, as he lost feeling in his toes in January -- months after the surgery. 

Earlier this week, Foster was removed from the active/PUP list and placed on the team's active roster, 21 months after he was originally claimed by Washington and 15 months after his devastating injury. Foster spoke with reporters shortly after Davis did on Friday, and opened up about his life from the past year and a half.


If there's someone who can relate to Foster's rehab process, it's Davis. Over a 23-month span from 2009-2011, Davis suffered three (!!) separate ACL tears.

Yet, Davis bounced back from those injuries in tremendous fashion. Since returning from the final ACL tear in 2012, Davis has been extremely durable. Over that span, he's earned three Pro Bowl nods and was named to the NFL's All-Pro squad in 2015. Even at age 36, Davis racked up 112 tackles for the Chargers last season.

"Just seeing [Foster] make progress each and every day has truly been special," Davis said. "As a guy who has his own rehab story, to see Reuben being able to do the things he’s doing day in and day out, I’m extremely impressed and I’m excited for him."

With so many twists and turns in his young NFL career, Foster has finally reached the point where he can make football his top priority.

And now in Washington, he has someone he can look up to as a mentor in Davis.

“I try to talk to Reuben as much as I possibly can," Davis said. "Reuben, he’s excited, man. He’s energetic, he’s up-tempo. He’s always just ready to get back on the field as much as he possibly can when he was that opportunity. He’s just out there working hard and we’re just trying to constantly encourage him to continue to fight, continue to work and just let the chips fall where they may at the end of the day."

Stay connected to the team with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.