Jamison Crowder set the Redskins’ record for receptions by a rookie last season and figures to play an even more prominent role in Washington’s offense in 2016, but the 22-year-old wide receiver is already planning for his next career. For the past three weeks, Crowder has traded in his playbook for a notebook and skipped the weight room in favor of a cubicle at Marriott International headquarters in Bethesda.
Crowder is one of 26 players participating in the NFL Players Association’s third-year externship program, which is designed to give players real-world experience in industries outside of football. Fellow Redskins Darrel Young and Silas Redd were placed at Under Armour, while Redskins practice squad tight end Ray Hamilton has been blogging about his externship at Panini America. Other host organizations for this year’s program include Comcast SportsNet, Events DC and the University of Maryland athletic department.
“I thought it would be something that’s helpful and something that can help me get some experience and see if this is something that I would enjoy doing,” said Crowder, who learned about the program at an NFLPA event in Los Angeles last month.
Crowder has spent time working in and observing various departments at Marriott during his externship. Some of his responsibilities included helping develop and implement Marriott’s “Extra Day Your Way” celebration of Leap Day on Feb. 29 and reviewing image submissions and serving as the primary website administrator for an employee engagement campaign. He said he has gained a greater appreciation of the hotel business and also sat through a fair number of meetings, which he reported are generally shorter than the ones he endures at Redskins Park.
“It’s interesting to see how they game-plan here for projects they want to work on and things they want to get done in the next few weeks,” Crowder said. “It’s somewhat similar to how we game-plan and come up with a strategy to be successful.”
Crowder, who graduated with a degree in sociology from Duke, has considered going into marketing when he’s done playing football. He’s also thought about coaching or being a counselor at his former high school. He has some time to figure it out and this externship program was part of that process.
“I think it’s always good to do something constructive and productive during the offseason,” Crowder said. “That’s part of the reason why I chose to join this program. Aside from this, I would probably just be working out and you can’t work out all day. It’s been different. It’s been cool.”
After Crowder’s externship ends Friday, he plans to go home to North Carolina and “get back in shape” before returning to his more familiar workplace for OTAs. He’s happy to know a familiar colleague in Kirk Cousins will be throwing him the ball.
“I think it’s great,” Crowder said of the Redskins’ decision to give Cousins the franchise tag. “Kirk was a great quarterback and was a great leader for us this year. I’m just excited to get back on the field to help him as much as I can, to do what I can to help him win ballgames. He’s a valuable piece and I’m excited for him.”