WASHINGTON — The Redskins suffered a crippling blow on the eve of training camp when the team learned that outside linebacker Junior Galette had torn his right Achilles tendon, according to multiple NFL sources.
Galette, 28, sustained the injury while training this weekend. He tore his left Achilles tendon last Aug. 26 during a preseason practice. A visible presence on social media throughout the offseason, Galette was primed to show that he could return to his form with the New Orleans Saints in 2013 and 2014 when he totaled 22 sacks. Instead, he will miss the 2016 season.
“This sucks,” one Redskins official said.
It was not a good day. The team also cut safety Kyshoen Jarrett, a sixth-round pick in 2015 who toggled between cornerback and safety in a nice rookie season. The former Virginia Tech star appeared in all 16 games last season, starting six. But he suffered nerve damage in his shoulder in the regular-season finale Jan. 3 at Dallas. Jarrett did not participate in any offseason workouts and met with specialists throughout the offseason, but his injury has not improved.
Galette also did not participate in offseason workouts – either OTAs or minicamp. The hope was to keep him healthy for training camp. Unfortunately, Galette didn’t make it there. Signed to a one-year contract in March, he will again miss an entire season. After 10 months of rehabilitation, Galette now has to go through the entire process again.
“[Galette] is like a kid at Christmas and he is sitting up waiting on Santa Clause every day and he hasn’t come yet,” Redskins coach Jay Gruden said on May 25. “He can’t wait to put on the pads and practice. He is working so hard with the trainers and on the sidelines listening to every call, he is into it. It’s going to be fun watching him getting back on the field, he’s very excited, and he’s doing everything he can to get out there.”
Galette signed a one-year deal with Washington on July 31, 2015 for the veterans’ minimum. The Saints cut him just prior to that preseason for a host of incidents both in the locker room and off-the-field. Galette was charged with a misdemeanor for simple battery and domestic violence in early January of last year and a 2013 video uploaded to YouTube that purported to show Galette hitting a woman with a belt on a Miami-area beach.
The domestic violence charge was dropped Feb. 19, 2015, but the NFL still suspended Galette two games for the incident last November. He was allowed to serve that suspension while injured.
Galette was a free agent after the season, but had gone so far as to get the Redskins logo tattooed on his right biceps. On March 15 he re-signed with the team on a one-year deal worth up to $4.1 million. Galette had switched agents this past offseason, signing with Miami-based Drew Rosenhaus, one of the NFL’s preeminent representatives.
Where do the Redskins go from here? No question their depth at outside linebacker takes a severe hit. They still have the steady Ryan Kerrigan (9.5 sacks), who still had a solid year even after offseason knee surgery. And this likely means a bigger role for second-year pro Preston Smith (8.5 sacks), who came on strong late in the season as a rookie and had a sack/safety in a playoff loss to Green Bay.
But otherwise, the only other outside linebackers on the roster are Willie Jefferson, a former Baylor star who played the last two years in the CFL after being cut by Houston for reportedly smoking marijuana the day before a game against Kansas City in 2013, Lynden Trail, an undrafted college free agent in 2015 who signed with Washington’s practice squad last October, and Houston Bates, who appeared in 10 games with the Redskins last season.
Expect Washington to add a veteran pass rusher – though that’s unlikely to be free agent Dwight Freeney, who at age 35 had eight sacks in a resurgent year for Arizona. Now 36, Freeney hasn’t drawn much interest in the free agent market this offseason. That was his best production since 2011 when Freeney had 8.5 sacks for his original team, the Indianapolis Colts.
The Redskins were adept last season at finding players other teams didn’t want. That’s how they ended up with linebacker Mason Foster and cornerback Will Blackmon in September once their veteran contracts were no longer guaranteed.
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