Commanders WR Terry McLaurin remains a believer in Sam Howell

At this time last offseason, head coach then-Washington head coach Ron Rivera and multiple players were singing the praises of rising second-year quarterback Sam Howell. After an impressive first start during the 2022 regular-season finale against Dallas, Rivera chose to give Howell the reins at quarterback in 2023.

One of those who believed in Howell from the start was star wide receiver Terry McLaurin. Throughout the offseason, McLaurin spoke of Howell’s work ethic and progress.

Unfortunately, things didn’t go as Rivera had hoped in 2023. Washington won four games, and after an impressive first half of the season, Howell struggled in the second half of the season. While he did start all 17 games, he was benched twice late in the season.

The Commanders fired Rivera in January, hiring Adam Peters as the new general manager and Dan Quinn as the head coach. Once free agency kicked off last month, Peters began flipping the roster. One of those moves was trading Howell to Seattle in a pick swap. With a new quarterback coming in via the 2024 NFL draft, the Commanders gave Howell a fresh start, opting to sign veteran Marcus Mariota to pair with a rookie.

Washington began its offseason program this week, and players are excited about the new regime. McLaurin is among those excited but discussed his former quarterback. The star wideout still believes Howell has a bright future ahead of him.

“It’s always tough seeing someone you build a really good relationship with move on in their career,” McLaurin said. “Especially your quarterback, because as a receiver, you want to continue to try to build that chemistry. That was only our first year playing with one another, and I feel like him and I made some great plays, and we had some room for growth, and I think that comes with any new quarterback/receiver relationship.”

As for Howell’s future, McLaurin sees a good opportunity for him in Seattle.

“To see him go in a situation to have a chance to compete and play under a really good quarterback in Geno (Smith). I think he’ll really like throwing to receivers like (Tyler) Lockett, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, and DK (Metcalf). So I think he’s going to a situation where he’ll have a chance to continue to show that he can play quarterback at a high level in this league, which I still truly believe.”

McLaurin not only believes in Howell as a player, but has a tremendous amount of respect for him after a difficult season in which Howell was essentially thrown to the wolves at times.

“I’ll always have a lot of respect for Sam, how he handled things good and bad last year,” McLaurin said. “I think he took a really big step in his career to continue to prove that he can play at a high level.”

You can watch McLaurin’s entire media session below, where he talks Dan Quinn, Curtis Samuel and his feelings about the new regime.

Story originally appeared on Commanders Wire