When Washington Redskins players gathered this week for three days of group workouts at a local high school, defensive lineman Kedric Golston didn’t think twice about taking part.
All the players involved took the chance that they would injure themselves, although they were running less than full-speed and weren’t going through contract drills. But Golston faced a more significant risk.
Golston -- like quarterback Rex Grossman and linebacker Rocky McIntosh – isn’t under contract for next season, and hasn’t been able to negotiate a new deal with Washington because of the NFL lockout.
That didn’t stop the 6-foot-4, 300-pound former Georgia standout from participating in all of the positional and 11-on-11 drills when he easily could have chosen to remain home training on his own, or attend to simply watch.
Some NFL agents have advised their players to pass on one-on-one drills, but Golston said the risk of injury never crossed his mind.
“There’s injury risks in everything,” said Golston, who came to the Redskins as a defensive tackle in the sixth round in 2006 but switched to end in the 3-4 scheme last season. “I could get hurt playing flag football with my son. I’m a Redskin, and until somebody tells me otherwise. I was drafted here and have spent five years here, so this is what I know, and I believe it will work itself out. I’m going to come here and work with the guys that I’ve been with for five, six years.”
Said middle linebacker London Fletcher, who organized this week’s workouts, “It’s a strong testament to him. He’s a team-first guy, loves the Redskins, and hopefully he can remain a Redskin once this situation is taken care of. We really appreciate him being out here.”
Golston did more than just run through drills, however.
This week, he served as self-appointed defensive line coach, and spent much of the time educating seventh-round pick Chris Neild (nose tackle out of West Virginia) on the linemen’s role in the defense. On two of the three days, Golston and Neild were the only defensive lineman at the workouts, so Golston tutored the rookie one-on-one.
“It’s been really helpful,” Neild said. “Learning from Kedric, I’m starting to understand what we do in this defense and what I need to work on.”
Golston also has helped Neild and other rookies find homes once they move to the area. Golston’s wife, Christal, is a real estate agent.
But he hasn’t seen putting on the mentor/coaching hat as a chore. Instead, he views it as an opportunity to pay forward a gesture of kindness that he received early in his career.
“As a rookie, I came in and had veterans like Cornelius Griffin, Renaldo Wynn, Demetric Evans, who shortened the learning curve for me,” Golston recalled. “So it’s an honor and a privilege for me to do it to [Neild], especially somebody who wants to learn, wants to get better. I definitely want to help the young guys.
Golston, who last season started all 13 of the games he played in and recorded 35 tackles, likely will face competition from at least one of those “young guys.” The Redskins drafted defensive tackle Jarvis Jenkins out of Clemson and plan on moving the second-round pick to end.
But that isn’t a concern, the veteran says.
“Ultimately, it’s just going to help this football team get better,” Golston says. “We all know the struggles we’ve had in the past and we want it to get turned around this year, so we need all 53 guys, and everybody else.”