As the Redskins face an offseason likely full of change, Darrel Young would like to return to Washington as the team looks to build off of an NFC East-winning season.
Despite playing less of a role for the Washington Redskins' offense in 2015, it would have been hard to believe fullback Darrel Young would have been in the spot he was during the season.
Six years earlier, Young, a linebacker out of Villanova, was selling shoes just days after being released from the Redskins' practice squad. Returning in 2010, this time as a fullback, Young not only made the team, he eventually took over for longtime Redskin Mike Sellers.
Over the years, Young was one of the most productive lead blockers in the NFL (he was part of the Redskins' league-leading rushing attack in 2012) and often caught defenses off-guard when his number was called on short-yardage situations and as a pass catcher.
But the soon-to-be free unrestricted free agent has an uncertain future in Washington.
"I said that Alfred [Morris] and I exchanged jerseys [after the playoff loss to the Packers], we signed it to each other, finally said that we're brothers, brother for life regardless of what happens," Young said. "My contract is up, his is up, Chris Thompson, you know, paved the way I feel like for a couple of years for those guys. It was a part of a lot of great memories and I just hope to be back -- if not, it was great."
While he didn't play nearly the same role on the offense in 2015, Young remained a leader on a special teams unit that experienced weekly change.
In total, he'd play 310 special teams snaps, most on the team. Safety Jeron Johnson had the second most special teams snaps with 253.
Even if a return meant a similar role, Young wants to be with the Redskins.
"Of course I want to be here," Young said. "The program is about to turn and we keep saying that, but I think there's some strides. 9-7. I got up as 9-7 as a Redskin, so I was excited. Won our division, did some really good things, I felt like we played playoff games a couple weeks back, and [the Packers game] was just an unfortunate little situation, one and done. But we felt like there was elimination games coming into this, we already played about three of them. It sucks, though, I want to be back."
Ultimately, Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan will have final say on whether Young and the other 15 unrestricted free agents currently on the team's roster return.
While Redskins head coach Jay Gruden admitted the fullback position is being phased out across the league, but there's still situations that call for their strengths.
"It's a position that really not a lot of teams use nowadays, but there is still a need for it – goal-line situations, short-yardage obviously, then, first- and second-down stuff with the play actions and the running game," Gruden said. "We'll address that position but DY has done some great things for this franchise, no question, not only at fullback. He's scored some touchdowns running the ball and caught the ball extremely ball and then, this year… his biggest impact was probably on special teams — played all four. He did some good things for us. Moving forward, we'll see how it works out but we'd love to get him back."