ASHBURN, Va. — Washington Commanders coach Ron Rivera viewed catcher Terry McLaurin as more than just a catcher who needed to be extended. He was a key player for an organization trying to rebuild its image amid a congressional investigation.
“It’s an organizational signature,” Rivera said. “It impacts not only on the football side but also on the business side. It tells people that we want to retain young men of this stature; we want young men of this stature to represent our organisation.”
Congress has been investigating Washington owner Dan Snyder since October. He held a hearing on June 22, and Snyder declined to attend or testify via video call. The House Oversight Committee’s Democratic leadership continues to negotiate with Snyder’s attorneys to get him to testify about Washington’s work culture.
The drumbeat of Congressional history drowned out other organizational news on the ground. When McLaurin skipped voluntary OTA field work and then the mandatory three-day minicamp, fans feared more bad news was headed their way. McLaurin has gone from a 2019 third-round pick — supposedly a key special teams player and backup receiver — to a guy with two 1,000-yard seasons in his first three.
Rivera emphasized to McLaurin his importance to the organization during a phone call during minicamp — when McLaurin was training in Florida.
“He emphasized that the property’s priority was getting the deal done,” McLaurin said.
By the time Washington left minicamp on June 16, there was optimism that McLaurin would soon be extended. He agreed to his three-year contract worth up to $71 million – with a signing bonus of $28 million – last week and signed it on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, Rivera centered McLaurin’s signature on how he said the organization has changed over the past two years, getting rid of others in key locations who have been accused of sexual harassment.
“As I ask, please don’t judge us based on ‘This happened then,'” Rivera said. “We’re moving forward. We’re changing things. We’re trying to do our best. I know some people don’t think it matters, but it does. It shows you can change, you can adapt, you you can make things better. You can fix your mistakes, and that’s what we do. We fix our mistakes, we get a lot of support.
McLaurin flourished in Washington despite playing with eight different starting quarterbacks. After finishing with 919 receiving yards as a rookie, he topped 1,000 yards each of the next two seasons.
Over the past two seasons combined, McLaurin ranks 11th in the NFL with 2,171 receiving yards and 12th with 164 receptions.
It’s also why he was a must for Rivera as he juggles planning on the pitch and news off the pitch.
“We do our best to put the best players in position so that we can build something that we can all be proud of,” Rivera said. “I’m a little upset because I understand, it’s news. What we do on the pitch is important, that’s what we try to do. We’re not trying to say what happened. past isn’t important because it’s something we need to make sure society doesn’t let these things happen again, so we’re doing everything we can to make sure we’re better off.
McLaurin said he and other team leaders tried to look ahead.
“We trust Coach Rivera’s vision and the way he’s leading us,” McLaurin said. “He does a great job of managing it and taking all the pressure from outside voices. … We represent the organization in the best possible way on and off the pitch. We take that seriously. It comes with hard work and , honestly, transparency and working hard as a collective group and building unity Coach Rivera allows us to focus on the pitch We understand what is happening outside we want to focus on where we are going .