- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 21, 2019

ASHBURN — Safety Montae Nicholson said Thursday he was “extremely grateful” to still be with the Redskins, a week after a 21-year-old woman overdosed at his Loudoun County home and later died at a hospital. 

The 23-year-old started Sunday against the New York Jets and interim coach Bill Callahan has not indicated the team plans to withhold Nicholson amid an active investigation into the girl’s death.

Speaking to reporters for the first time since the incident, Nicholson asked for privacy, adding the “week has been extremely hard” on the victim’s friends and family — and on him. 

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Nicholson said he appreciates the way the franchise is handiling the matter.

“It means a lot,” Nicholson said. “I’m extremely blessed and very fortunate because … they could’ve shut the door on me and turned their backs, but they didn’t. And that just speaks volumes to the type of program I’m a part of.

“I’m extremely grateful to be here and to still be here.”

The Redskins have not said much about Nicholson, citing the ongoing legal matter. On Monday, Callahan said it was the safety’s decision to play against the Jets, something Nicholson also iterated in his four-minute chat with reporters.

Last week, Nicholson and another man took the victim, Reston’s Julia Crabbe, to the emergency room after finding her unresponsive in his bathroom during the early morning hours. TMZ Sports reported Nicholson and the man left immediately after dropping her at the hospital, but Nicholson’s lawyer, Mark Dycio, told multiple outlets his client stayed at the hospital until the woman’s family arrived.

In a search of Nicholson’s home, authorities found pills, marijuana and foil with some kind of residue, according to a search warrant. Dycio told CNN that Nicholson had “no knowledge” of the drugs, which he said belonged to a guest or the victim.

Nicholson, who has been cooperating with authorities, did not address the drugs found when speaking to reporters.

He did say he has been talking to a few people who have reached out, including a counselor and close friends.

Nicholson said the last week has been “rough, to say the least.

“With my teammates and friends who aren’t in the state or just aren’t around here, the head office made it very well known that they have my back in everything that was going on,” Nicholson said, “and if I needed anything, just to talk or anything like that, they made that known that the door was wide open.”

Against the Jets, Nicholson took 69 of Washington’s 70 defensive snaps, starting opposite Landon Collins.

On Monday, Callahan said Nicholson was mentally prepared to play. The decision drew criticism as it was just three days after the woman’s death. Callahan has not explained why the Redskins have been comfortable playing Nicholson amid an active investigation.

Nicholson said it wasn’t easy “trying to separate the field from everything that was going on,” but didn’t sound like he seriously thought about sitting out.

“It wasn’t that hard,” Nicholson said when asked about his decision to play. “If I can play, I’m going to play. I love this game. … If I can, I will be going.”



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