Commanders’ Antonio Gandy-Golden retires; Chase Roullier activated

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Before practice Thursday, tight end Antonio Gandy-Golden told coach Ron Rivera he was going to retire from football and return to school. Gandy-Golden, a 2020 Liberty fourth-round pick who had exciting athletic potential, has spent this offseason going from tight end receiver.

Rivera said he was surprised by the decision because Gandy-Golden was “doing a really good job” in his new position. But after two tough years, Rivera felt the 24-year-old had lost his passion for the game.

“What it sounded like in our conversation is that he didn’t feel it anymore,” Rivera said. “And he was talking about going back to school and finishing his education and seeing what else was in there for him.”

Kyle Strongin, Gandy-Golden’s agent, did not respond to a request for comment.

In 2020, Gandy-Golden captivated NFL Draft pundits with a big frame, athleticism and smarts. He was 6ft 4in and 223lbs tall and ran a 4.6-second dash for 40 yards and did acrobatic and twisted backflips. He majored in graphic design, flew through puzzles (his favorite activity) and once, during a live television interview, answered questions while solving a Rubik’s cube.

But he never found a foothold in the NFL. He missed eight games as a rookie with a hamstring injury, and the following season Washington released him as a final cut during training camp. He re-signed to the practice squad and was eventually elevated to the active roster, despite not registering a stat in 20 snaps over four games. He would finish his career with a catch for three yards and a run for 22.

“He was making really good progress – and during OTAs and minicamp he showed his ability,” Rivera said. “We thought he was a guy who might have been a game problem for some people. So, a little surprised, but…I like who he is as a young man. I want to wish him all the best as he returns home and begins the rest of his life.

In a room of converts, commanders find competition, potential on tight end

Gandy-Golden’s departure leaves Washington with five good tight ends. As starter Logan Thomas (ACL) continues his rehab, John Bates and Cole Turner have taken the most first-team reps. If the team keeps more than three tight ends — they kept four last year and three in 2020 — the contest will be between Sammis Reyes and a pair of undrafted free agents (Arizona State’s Curtis Hodges and Armani Rogers of Ohio).

Hanging out on the inside offensive line

Washington activated starting center Chase Roullier (fractured fibula) from the physically unable to play roster after practice Thursday. The move hints at a potential reshuffle along the interior offensive line in Friday’s practice.

Veteran right guard Trai Turner missed practice on Thursday with what is believed to be a minor injury, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. Saahdiq Charles took on the first-team representatives at right guard instead.

Chase Roullier, slap after slap, asserts himself as an anchor of the Washington offensive

Now offensive line coach John Matsko has some choices to make. He can move veteran inside lineman Wes Schweitzer from center – where he was covering Roullier – to right guard and create competition with Turner, or he can keep Schweitzer at center on the second team and knock off the 2020 fifth-round pick. Keith Ismail. to the third team.

Curtis Samuel looks like himself again

After an injury-plagued first season in Washington, wide receiver Curtis Samuel looked like his explosive self again — at least for a practice. During 11v11, Samuel was running left to right when he caught a pass past corner Benjamin St-Juste, and as St-Juste closed in for a form tackle, Samuel planted his right foot into the ground and St-Just passed.

The juke was one of the only bright spots in the day’s attack and caused a roar from the touchline. Wide star Terry McLaurin, who lodged with Samuel at Ohio State, shouted, “There he is!”

“It gave me flashbacks to college,” McLaurin later said. “Most guys catch that ball on a five-yard pass, and they can get an extra two or three yards. The move he made in no time…gives you another 10-12 yards with his ability. So it’s cool for others to see that, to feel that. He seems to have a good spring in his step. And I know he just wants to take it day by day and continue to build on that and stay healthy. So far he is doing a very good job. »

If Samuel can deliver in the regular season, it would be a much-needed boost for the Commanders offense. Last season, Washington tied for 30th in the NFL with just 89 broken tackles on offense, according to Football Outsiders.

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