Junior Galette, outside linebacker
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.”