- The Washington Times - Monday, March 23, 2020

The Washington Redskins released safety Montae Nicholson on Monday, cutting ties with a player who had several controversial off-the-field incidents.

Nicholson, 24, started 26 of 48 games in three seasons for the Redskins after he was drafted out of Michigan State in 2017. Last season, authorities investigated the death of a young woman who overdosed at Nicholson’s home. No charges were filed, but the Redskins faced criticism for allowing the safety to play football as the investigation unfolded.

In 2018, Nicholson was arrested and charged with misdemeanor battery and assault for a drunken fight outside of a bar in Ashburn, Virginia — miles away from the team facility. Those charges were dropped, but not before video of the alleged incident leaked to TMZ, appearing to show Nicholson knocking out a man with a punch.

Those two controversies soured what was initially a promising beginning for Nicholson. In 2017, the fourth-rounder flashed potential as a rangy, athletic, hard-hitting safety who could cover the backend of the field. But Nicholson’s season was cut short when he suffered a concussion, an injury that lingered for weeks before the Redskins shut him down.

On the field, Nicholson also struggled. Before the bar incident in 2018, he lost his starting job when Washington acquired Ha Ha Clinton-Dix at the trade deadline. The next year, Nicholson regained his starting role, but was a liability in coverage and was often not on the same page in communicating pre-snap adjustments. Nicholson appeared in 13 games last year before a neck njury sidelined him for the last few weeks of the season.



Last week, the Redskins signed former Pittsburgh Steelers safety Sean Davis to a one-year, $5 million deal — a move that, in retrospect, signaled the end for Nicholson in Washington.

Nicholson was one of five players the Redskins released on Monday. The team also cut cornerbacks Kayvon Webster, Coty Sensabaugh, Dee Delaney and Breon Borders.

Despite his struggles, Nicholson grabbed a career-high two interceptions in 2019 and had 62 tackles.

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