- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 25, 2020

ASHBURN — Chase Young could feel his body was in an awkward position. Participating in an agility drill last week, Washington’s rookie defensive end had reached for a cone in the grass with his right hand, sprinted and came back to touch it with the left.

Young, though, wasn’t fully set. And he thought he could get away with it.

The 21-year-old soon paid the price: As he finished the rep, Young felt a slight pull in his hip.

“I wanted to win so bad, I really didn’t care,” Young said of being in an awkward position. “I thought I was going to be good.”

Unfortunately for Young, he learned a lesson the hard way. Over the past week, Young has been nursing a hip flexor injury, causing Washington to be cautious in how it can work him back into the fold. Young returned to team drills Monday, but his reps have been severely limited. As a result, Young’s first training camp hasn’t gotten off to the start that he and Washington envisioned when the team drafted him second overall months ago.

Due to the missed time, Young remains mostly with the backups. Despite his draft status, Washington wants Young to earn his spot — thus far giving Ryan Kerrigan and Montez Sweat the starting reps. It’s a position that Young hasn’t faced in a few years as he had become one of the nation’s best pass rushers at Ohio State.

But Young said he likes having to prove himself.

“I’m a worker, I’ll say that,” Young said. “I don’t have a problem with working. Adversity is always going to come. That’s life. Me, I’m going to roll with the punches. My biggest thing right now is just getting my hip to 100%.”

Young has made significant progress in his recovery, but said he still thinks about the injury when out of the field. The goal, of course, is for the first-rounder to play without limitations. Young said he was “playing it smart” since it’s the type of injury that can linger, something he doesn’t want to happen.

Even in glimpses, Young’s talent — his speed and overwhelming power — has been on full display. When he returned to team drills, Young’s first reps were near the goal line — and he immediately burst off the line to break up a pass to tight end Logan Thomas. Then, a short time later, he exploded through the gap and got to Antonio Gibson in the backfield.

During one drill before his injury, Young collided with tackle Paul Adams in a one-on-one battle, pushed him back and then easily tossed him aside.

Adams weighs 315 pounds.

“We’ve seen the pass rush ability obviously,” coach Ron Rivera said.

“You can tell that he’s hungry,” tackle Geron Christian said.

Christian, a candidate to start at left tackle, has been matched up with Young on occasion, but he has picked up more about his teammate being around him in the team facility. When Christian sees Young, he’s noticed that Ryan Kerrigan is usually with him. Christian said it’s an example of Young trying to learn all he can from the 10-year veteran.

Young has indeed picked up tips from Kerrigan. At Ohio State, Young had his own ways of warming up before practice. But now, Kerrigan has introduced new stretches that Young said he now incorporates to his routine. “He’s one of those guys that we call ‘The Dude,’” Young said.

According to Young, being recognized as “The Dude” is a great honor. It represents someone’s standing in the NFL — that they conduct themselves the right way, they avoid trouble off the field and perhaps above all else, make plays. It stems, Young said, from who they are as a person.

“Some people can act like a dude, you can talk and say that you are a dude,” Young said, “but the only thing (that) tells if you really a dude are by your actions.”

Young did not say if he considers himself a dude, nor did he mention wanting to become one. Then again, maybe that’s the point.

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