After missing the past two seasons with torn Achilles’ tendons, outside linebacker Junior Galette is confident he’ll be back on an NFL field in 2017 and that he’ll be wearing a Redskins uniform.
“Technically I’m a free agent, but in my mind, like I said last year, I’m set to come back,” Galette told ESPN 980’s Scott Jackson and Brian Mitchell on Wednesday. “I already spoke to Scot [McCloughan], and we already have plans to just sign me back on a one-year deal. I told him I don’t care about no money right now. I could care less. I made tons of money in the NFL, and I set myself up to be good for life. I’m not worried about the money. It’s about my pride right now and to show myself that I can come back from back-to-back Achilles’ injuries. I feel like it would be one for the history books the way I come back if I could come back and take the league by storm and proceed and play for another five years in my prime.”
Galette had 22 combined sacks over his last two seasons with the Saints, who signed him to a four-year contract extension in September 2014. Fed up with his off-field troubles, including a domestic violence charge that was later dismissed, New Orleans released Galette in July 2015, and McCloughan signed him for the league minimum. He didn’t play a snap after tearing his Achilles’ during the preseason. The Redskins brought Galette back on a one-year deal last spring, and he worked hard to get ready for the season, but he tore his other Achilles’ tendon less than a week before the start of training camp.
Galette, who said that both of his Achilles’ tendons are “as strong as they’ve ever been” and promised to post videos of his rehab work on social media soon, expounded on a recent tweet about wanting to be what Dexter Manley was to the Redskins.
“I feel like that’s what I can bring to the table, is that tenacity and that ferociousness, and just add it to on a defense which is going to come punch you in your face,” Galette said. “I’m not here to be friendly with anyone on the field. I don’t care about being friends with anybody. I just care about winning, and whatever I need to do to do that, I’m going to do it. That’s the type of attitude I’m talking about.”
And that’s the type of attitude that Galette said was lacking in Sunday’s must-win regular season finale against the Giants.
“I feel like the Giants really didn’t have anything to play for, so for guys not to come up and show up and play lights out, it was very frustrating,” he said. “Stuff like that, I just won’t allow to happen. I’m not saying that I’m here to be in everybody’s face, but there’s just a certain attitude that you have that you know is going to rub off, the energy is going to rub off.”
Asked for his thoughts on the Redskins’ season as a whole, Galette pointed to a lack of turnovers as one of the defense’s biggest problems. The Redskins tied for 17th in the NFL with 21 takeaways this season after tying for ninth with 26 in 2015. Washington forced two turnovers in its seven losses.
“I hear people saying, ‘Ah, Joe Barry this and Joe Barry that,'” Galette said, one day before the Redskins fired their defensive coordinator along with three of his assistants. “What does Joe Barry have to do with taking the ball away? Taking the ball away is an attitude. It’s not about the position that he’s putting you in; it’s actually putting your face in there. We see how good Josh Norman is with it. He’s willing to basically give up his body and throw himself in there and take the ball away. That’s an attitude, and it has nothing to do with his defensive coordinator’s scheme. . . . Things like that, I’m going to reinforce to always take the ball away so we can give Kirk [Cousins] a better chance to succeed on offense.”
The attitude that Galette talked about Wednesday was reminiscent of what Norman said he would like to see more of from his teammates during an interview with Chris Cooley and Kevin Sheehan last month.
“I don’t want no nice,” Norman said. “I don’t want good; I don’t want great. I want nasty. Nasty football players. If you get a 15-yard penalty for hitting somebody in the mouth, so what? We’ll take that fine for you. That’s what I want to see.”
On Thursday, Galette seemed to throw his support behind Rob and/or Rex Ryan for the Redskins’ defensive coordinator vacancy. Rob Ryan was the Saints’ defensive coordinator during the best two years of Galette’s career . . . and when Washington put up 47 points on New Orleans in 2015.