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Joe Theismann hopes Washington can serve as example of taking action on social change

Joe Theismann hopes Washington can serve as example of taking action on social change

Following the killing of George Floyd on May 25, the fight for social justice and racial equality has been at the forefront of issues in the United States.

The current social justice movement in America has impacted Washington's NFL team, as the organization announced on Monday it would retire the name 'Redskins' -- a slur that some Native Americans find offensive and racist -- and the team's logo. The change -- something Washington owner Dan Snyder said he would "never" do in 2013 -- is felt to be overdue by many.

Former Washington quarterback Joe Theismann hopes that the team's eventual name change can be used as an opportunity for the organization to serve as an example by taking action for social change.

"I think that what we've proven with the new name of the Washington football franchise is that we need people to take action on the things that they want to get done," Theismann told ABC7's Scott Abraham.

"There's so many things socially that people talk about doing... but we're not really getting the results. In this case, I hope the Washington name and the change that's taking place can be an example to people."

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Additionally, the Super Bowl-winning QB explained that he wants those upset by the change to understand that things don't say the same. Sometimes, change is necessary.

"Things are always changing in one place, in one way or another," Theismann said. "We're experiencing this now through the pandemic and all the things that are happening socially around the country and really around the world. And I think what we have to do is listen, open our hearts, open our minds to what's going on."

Asked if he was upset or angry by the change, Theismann said that he doesn't have any regrets personally with the franchise.

"I don't have any regrets... I was very proud to put on that uniform and represent, what I felt like were the Native Americans," Theismann said. "As a matter of fact, in 1982 when we won the World Championship, I was given a chief's headdress by one of the tribal individuals. And it's a cherished item."

Plus, the quarterback also stated he would continue to wear his 'Redskins' gear, saying  he will "explain to people, to me it represented a proud tradition of the people that I spoke to who were Native Americans."

RELATED: FORMER WASHINGTON KICKER MARK MOSELEY UPSET BY NAME CHANGE

However, Theismann made sure to emphasize he is fully embracing the change and the current social movement.

"I think it's a time to get excited," Theismann said. "Let's embrace what's here in front of us, let's embrace this young group of guys."

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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.

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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."

RELATED: MCLAURIN RANKED ABOVE AJ GREEN, ADAM THIELEN AS TOP WRs ENTERING 2020

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."

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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."

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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.

RELATED: WHAT ARE REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS FOR REUBEN FOSTER IN 2020?

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."

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