Ju­nior Galette, out­side line­backer

The Washington Post Sunday - - REDSKINS TRAINING CAMP -

Hop­ing for a fresh start fol­low­ing his re­lease from the New Or­leans Saints, Galette signed with the Wash­ing­ton Red­skins in 2015 — but things haven’t gone as he hoped. The out­side line­backer rup­tured his right Achilles’ ten­don dur­ing his first Red­skins train­ing camp, caus­ing him to miss the en­tire 2015 sea­son, and then he tore his left Achilles’ ten­don right be­fore train­ing camp last year.

Dur­ing two sea­sons with the Red­skins, Galette has played zero games.

“You’re in so much shock that it can ac­tu­ally hap­pen twice,” Galette said.

His re­cov­ery process de­manded pa­tience, but Galette was itch­ing to get back on the field the first time around. When he could walk again, he couldn’t wait to run. He pushed him­self be­yond what doc­tors sug­gested and suf­fered the sec­ond in­jury.

“Ev­ery week felt like a flashback, like I should be out here right now and help this team,” Galette said. “It got to a point where I didn’t want to watch the games any­more.”

The sec­ond time go­ing through the process was tougher than the first.

“I think it was a lot more men­tal than phys­i­cal,” Galette said. “The phys­i­cal, I feel like we’re the best ath­letes on the planet. You’re go­ing to come back. You know that in the back of your mind. You’re not re­ally con­cerned about that. It’s just not be­ing able to be around the game, the guys and stuff like this that you just miss.”

He was trans­par­ent with his emo­tions on so­cial me­dia dur­ing that span, ex­press­ing pe­ri­ods of both amuse­ment and agony. Galette had been a team cap­tain for the Saints, record­ing 22 sacks over his fi­nal two sea­sons in New Or­leans. It was all taken away be­cause of off-the-field in­ci­dents, in­clud­ing a Jan­uary 2015 ar­rest for mis­de­meanor do­mes­tic abuse. The charges were dropped a month later, and Galette also won a civil suit in July filed against him from the same in­ci­dent.

The 29-year-old, en­ter­ing his eighth year in the NFL, is hop­ing to recapture the pass-rush­ing abil­ity he hasn’t dis­played since 2014. The in­juries al­lowed Galette to eval­u­ate his life out­side of foot­ball.

“When you say, ‘Why am I go­ing through this?’ I don’t think you can find out in this life­time or right now,” Galette said. “I prob­a­bly won’t find out for an­other 20 years, but I knew I had to change a cou­ple things and the way I was liv­ing. I knew that would be the first step. I had to go back to my roots and what got me to be suc­cess­ful, what got me to be a team cap­tain that I kind of strayed away from. I had to go back to the draw­ing board.

“I did it the first time, but it wasn’t 150 per­cent all the way in. Now I’m all in, 150 per­cent. I’m go­ing to give it all I got and make sure that I gave it my all and not have any re­grets.”

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