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Jay Gruden is interested in Nico Marley the football player - not Bob Marley's grandson

Jay Gruden is interested in Nico Marley the football player - not Bob Marley's grandson

When you look at the case of undrafted rookie linebacker Nico Marley, many would think his last name might help him land a spot in the NFL. In fact, the opposite may be true.  

Marley, grandson of global musical icon Bob Marley, was a force at Tulane, where he set a new conference record for tackles for loss and never missed a game in four years as a starter. For many players, those stats and durability would be enough to get an invite to the NFL Combine, but that look never came for Marley.

Instead he landed with the Redskins as an undrafted free agent, and turned heads in rookie minicamp. 

"As far as his name is concerned, he’s very proud of his name and all that stuff, but I’m just worried about Nico Marley as a football player, teaching him linebacker and see how we can make him fit in our scheme if we can," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said Wednesday.

When it comes to football, Marley flies to the ball and has a nose for turnovers. The problem, however, is size. 

Listed at 5-foot-8, 200 lbs., Marley is noticeably small for a linebacker. His father Rohan Marley, who played in college at Miami, suggested his son should play in nickel situations. His coach at Tulane regrets not playing Nico more on special teams, where his speed would make up for his size and he could show his playmaking ability. 


In very limited time so far, Gruden already noticed Marley's knack for turnovers.

"I don’t put anything into [his last name], I just watched him at the rookie minicamp. We brought him in here, saw this little linebacker and the object of a defense is to try to get the ball back for the offense and he had two interceptions and recovered a fumble and had about three tackles for loss. I said, well, he deserves an opportunity, so we gave him an opportunity," the coach explained.

That opportunity will likely end before the regular season. At interior linebacker the Redskins already have Will Compton, Zach Brown, Mason Foster, Chris Carter, Martrell Spaight and rookie seventh round draft pick Josh Harvey-Clemons is listed at the position as well. 

That doesn't mean to count Marley out.

If he can continue to make plays, and prove he could be a "special teams demon" like his college coach suggested, a spot could emerge. Or the practice squad might remain an option. 

At 5-foot-8, Marley hardly had any options to play college football. Still, he got a scholarship offer and excelled at Tulane. It might help that the Redskins have two other players on the roster from the Green Wave in Robert Kelley and Ryan Grant. It also might not matter.

The NFL is a numbers game. Whatever happens to Marley with the Redskins, it will be because he earned it on the field, not his grandfather's celebrity. 


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ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

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Derrius Guice continues to ingratiate himself with Redskins fans with new fundraising effort

Derrius Guice continues to ingratiate himself with Redskins fans with new fundraising effort

For most college players, being a part of the NFL Draft experience is a dream come true, but for Derrius Guice, it was becoming a nightmare. Originally projected as a first round pick, Guice saw his name falling fast on draft boards due to questions raised about his maturity and high-maintenance personality.

Two months removed from the Redskins selecting him 59th overall, Guice has erased any doubt regarding his character. Whether it be taking fans out to the movies, shooting the breeze while signing autographs, or even the occasional leap frog over two practice barrels and a trainer, Guice has ingrained himself as a Redskins fan favorite. He's done a great job at making himself popular, now he's focused on making change for others. 

On June 20th, a day before his birthday, Guice announced he would be running a fundraiser for the Mary Bird Perkins center, a cancer foundation in his hometown of Baton Rouge. Inspired by his best friend's mother who "rang that bell,"—an indication that a patient has beaten cancer—Guice wants to help others do the same. 

Guice has utilized his newfound popularity to entice other peope to donate. If you donate $5, you can play him in Fortnite. For $50, you guys can go bowling together. Anyone willing to donate $100 or more will be entered in a raffle for tickets to the Redskins Monday Night Football game against the Saints. 

If Guice can match his off the field popularity with on the field production, he'll be in contention for Rookie of the Year. Anyone interested in donating can click here


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Need to Know: Five Redskins on the bubble who could make the roster

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Need to Know: Five Redskins on the bubble who could make the roster

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, June 21, 35 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The first five off of the roster

Here are five players who are not on my projection of the Redskins’ 53-man roster (offensedefense) but who are one injury or a few strong preseason game performances away from making it. 

G Kyle Kalis—Last year he lined up with the second team during most of training camp and he nearly made the roster as an undrafted free agent. The team did re-sign him after injuries struck the O-line in the middle of the season. He will push Tyler Catalina for a backup guard spot. 

RB Byron Marshall—He got a few touches last year before ending up on injured reserve. Marshall has looked good in practices so far, especially catching out of the backfield. Jay Gruden likely will play Chris Thompson sparingly in the preseason and that could give Marshall a chance to shine. Don’t sleep on him. 

WR Cam Sims—Right now, the undrafted rookie out of Alabama looks like the eighth wide receiver on the roster and they are only going to keep six. But if he continues to get the attention of Gruden with his play in practice and makes the most of his opportunities in preseason games, Robert Davis and Maurice Harris should look out. 

S Fish Smithson—The Redskins liked him a lot after they signed him as an undrafted free agent last year. But they didn’t like him enough to keep him on the 53-man roster; he spent the year on the practice squad, getting a late-season cup of coffee on the roster. He will push both Deshazor Everett and Troy Apke for a backup safety spot. If the Redskins have reason to be concerned about the health of Montae Nicholson they might figure out a way to keep Smithson on as a fifth safety. 

ILB Martrell Spaight—It looks like Spaight’s three-year tenure with the team essentially came to an end when they drafted Sean Dion Hamilton in the fifth round. But his play in offseason practices indicates he’s not going to go out without a fight. 

Next five off: OT T.J. Clemmings, QB Kevin Hogan, RB Kapri Bibbs, NT Phil Taylor, CB Danny Johnson

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler


Redskins running back Derrius Guice was born on this date in 1997. 

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 35
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 49
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 72

The Redskins last played a game 172 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 80 days. 

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