- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 28, 2019

RICHMOND — Trey Quinn is used to taking a beating. Welcomes them actually.

Working out over the long, hot summers in his hometown of Lake Charles, Louisiana, the Redskins wide receiver puts on his chest pad, straps on his helmet and stands seven yards from a “jugs machine” that rapid-fires spirals.

When the balls come, so does the punishment.

While he stands there and tries to catch footballs, a friend whacks the wideout “all over the place” in an effort to recreate the disruption of a cornerback breaking up a pass.

Quinn does the drill religiously, five days a week.

So when Josh Norman delivered a thumping blow off the line of scrimmage at training camp on Sunday, the 23-year-old barely flinched. He was used to it.

“A little tug from J-No ain’t a thing,” Quinn said.

After the initial contact, Quinn continued running his fade route to the end zone — soon laying out to haul in a Dwayne Haskins pass for the touchdown. Upon rising from the ground, Quinn spiked the football and yelled in celebration.

Entering his second year, Quinn’s ability to maintain composure is a big reason why coach Jay Gruden has already declared the 23-year-old his starting slot receiver just days into camp. Gruden said Sunday the wideout has the position “locked down,” with the few others behind Quinn competing to be his backup.

Quinn, who enjoys playing with a chip on his shoulder, wasn’t happy to hear about Gruden’s vote of confidence.

“I don’t like it,” said the final pick in last year’s draft — also known as the NFL’s “Mr. Irrelevant” of 2018. That nickname became fuel, he said. “I kind of want everyone to go ‘Mr. Irrelevant’ again.”

Quinn fell in the draft despite getting feedback from some that he’d be taken in the middle rounds. He felt overlooked then, just like he did when he transferred to SMU out of LSU in 2016. Quinn said he had to make it on his own and “come out of the mud.”

But expectations are different now. The Redskins no longer view Quinn as a scrappy underdog with potential. Instead, they’re counting on him to make up the loss of Jamison Crowder, who signed a three-year, $28.5 million deal with the New York Jets in free agency in March.

Growing up, Quinn played a variety of sports, including baseball, where he threw a no-hitter in the Little League World Series when he was 12. But football, his father Dave told The Washington Times, was always the younger Quinn’s true passion.

At six, he’d pull his father off the couch to go toss a football outside — something that didn’t usually happen with other sports.

At three, he’d run 100 yards up and down the field  “six or seven times” with a football in his hand while his family waited for Bobby Kessler, a college football coach and Quinn’s grandfather, to finish his post-practice interviews.

“I probably should have seen the writing on the wall back there, man,” Dave Quinn said.

For Gruden and Quinn’s teammates, the writing they want see this season — preferably on a giant electronic scoreboards — will be spelling the word “touchdown,” and showing replays of moves like the one he put on Norman. 

The Redskins are also depending on Quinn to stay healthy — something he failed to do last year. The seventh-rounder played in just three games his rookie season after suffering a Week 1 ankle injury.

The Redskins are confident a healthy Quinn can produce.

“When it’s time to catch the ball,” Gruden said, “he’s going to make the play and get separation.”

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