During 11-on-11 drills, Young was telling people to hustle off the field when rookie linebacker Jamin Davis laughed and said, “You’re real serious.”
“I’m like, ‘Yeah, it might matter one day,’ ” Young said. “You have to run off the field.”
On Tuesday, the start of Washington’s three-day mandatory minicamp, Young’s return ended the minor hubbub surrounding his absence for the first two weeks of voluntary organized team activities. The 22-year-old was the only player to miss both workouts, but Tuesday he explained he had “a lot going on,” including a busy filming schedule with national brands such as Under Armour, eBay and “Family Feud.” He noted he was in and out of the building earlier this offseason and sent workout videos to strength coach Chad Englehart to show the team he was still training hard.
“I came out today, was playing fast, so I feel good,” he said. “The biggest thing was just communicating with Coach Ron [Rivera] and [defensive coordinator Jack] Del Rio. As long as I’m locked in with them, they know I’m working.”
Ian Thomas, Young’s manager, said the busy offseason began days after Washington’s playoff loss to Tampa Bay in January. Young has spent most of the offseason between Miami, where he has been training, and Los Angeles, where he has spent time shooting commercials for companies and discussing strategy with his agents at Klutch Sports Group. A normal day in Hollywood consisted of a workout at 7 a.m., acting on set from 10 to 6 p.m. and then another workout around 6:30.
“He’s working hard. He’s very business-oriented for such a young guy,” Thomas said in an interview. “He’s putting his all into every project, making sure everything is up to par and that it’s right. He understands he’s the boss of [his brand] … and he hasn’t slowed down with the workouts. He’s preparing his body, his mind, his spirit to help continue to improve the franchise.”
Once minicamp ends Thursday, Young will finish a few more projects before shutting down extensive brand obligations for the season, Thomas said. Training camp starts July 27, and Thomas emphasized Young understands his play on the field is the most important thing. Young expects to take the same sophomore stride other elite pass rushers have in the past few years — Khalil Mack went from four sacks as a rookie to 15 in his second season; T.J. Watt went from seven to 13; Myles Garrett went from seven to 13.5. As a rookie, Young finished with 7.5.
From afar, Young looked the part Tuesday. He seemed not only in shape but as powerful as he was last season during drills, knocking aside dummies and finessing his way past blockers. He stood at or near the line of scrimmage for every play he wasn’t in, and he ran to the post-practice circle to be one of the faces at the front of the line for Rivera.
The coach had appeared to be disappointed by Young’s absence early on, but he seemed more positive Tuesday.
“[During OTAs, Chase] had a full plate a couple of times and we couldn’t get him out there,” Rivera said. “That’s ball. But the mandatory thing, he is here. He’s doing the things he needs to do. He’s in great shape. He’s working hard. His teammates respect him and appreciate that.”
After practice, left tackle Charles Leno Jr. said he watched film of Young in the locker room with right tackle Cornelius Lucas. Leno pointed out that, as a seven-year veteran and a lineman who blocked Mack during practice with the Chicago Bears, he knows elite edge rushers — and he views Young as the next in line.
“[Young is] going to be a very, very, very good football player over the years,” Leno said, adding that Young has a special feel for the game. “He’s just playing football. He’s not going out there with a plan, and if the plan doesn’t work, he’s thinking about it. No, he’s just playing ball. That’s the one thing that you always like to see in a young player who’s going to be one of the great defensive ends in the league.”
Curtis Samuel misses practice with a groin injury
Curtis Samuel, the 24-year-old wide receiver who signed a three-year, $34.5 million deal in March, missed the first day of mandatory minicamp with a groin injury, Rivera said. Samuel worked on the sideline last week at camp for the same reason.
Linebacker Jon Bostic and cornerback Jimmy Moreland had excused absences as well, Rivera said.