Junior Galette hasn’t appeared in a game for the Redskins yet, and he hasn’t signed a contract for next season.
But the veteran pass rusher, who tore his Achilles’ tendon in training camp, is committed to the Redskins. Like, really committed. So much so that he’s moved to Ashburn, Va., and sports a tattoo of the team’s logo on his right biceps.
“I’m here, no doubt about it,” Galette said when I asked him about his contract status for 2016.
The Redskins signed the 27-year-old to a one-year contract for the league minimum on July 31. The deal gives Washington the right of first refusal for next season, as well.
“I’ve been playing football since I was 12 years old,” Galette said. “So, since I was 12-years-old, from June to January my life has been football. Fifteen years later, I never missed those seasons. And I missed a full season. So there was a little bit of trauma in there for me, you know what I’m saying? I had to deal with that mentally. I had to go through those dark stages. But the success the team had gave me encouragement every day, motivation, like, man, ‘This is good. I made the perfect decision.”
He added: “I’m thankful to be part of a functional organization and to know that we won the division, where two head coaches just got fired. So things are looking bright for the future.”
Galette said the plan is for him to be 100-percent by March and to be full-go in OTAs.
“I’m just ready to attack this offseason like I never have before,” he said. “I just want to prove who I am as a player.”
It would make sense for the Redskins to re-sign Galette, provided that he returns to full health, of course. The outside linebacker recorded a combined 22 sacks for the Saints in 2013 and ’14 and would provide a major boost for a Washington pass rush that finished tied for 14th in sacks this season with 38.
Galette said he’s excited about the potential the Redskins’ pass rush possesses.
“[Ryan] Kerrigan was one of the main guys that attracted me to come here,” he said. “Playing opposite an elite athlete. And then you see Chris Baker, his improvement. That’s the most important thing for an edge rusher, that interior pressure. The quarterback can’t step up and you get that extra half second. [Stephen] Paea is going to come back. And you see Preston Smith, who had eight sacks as a rookie. You don’t just go on the field and that happens. That’s encouraging for me.”
Galette said his main motivation right now is getting his career back on track and rebuilding his reputation after being suspended for two games by the NFL for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. (He served the suspension while on injured reserve and forfeited a pair of game checks.)
“I’m not worried about money right now,” Galette said. “I’m worried about getting my name back, to a place where people can say, ‘That is a mature young man that is a professional.’ I’m worried about my son being able to search my name three, four years from now and there’s nothing negative about me. Everybody’s always going to have their criticisms. They are going to have their opinions. That doesn’t matter. For the most part, I want him to say, ‘This is my Dad. This is somebody I look up to.’ That’s what motivates me.”