It’s been an amazing year for Washington Commanders defensive tackle Daron Payne. Payne entered the 2022 NFL season with uncertainty, as he was playing on his fifth-year option and headed for free agency in 2023.
How did Payne respond? He had a career year with 11.5 sacks and 18 tackles for loss. Washington applied the franchise tag to Payne, and the two sides quickly agreed to a four-year $90 million deal to keep him in the burgundy and gold.
Payne had an eventful offseason, too, as he had his jersey retired at his high school, and he also made a big donation.
But now, Payne’s focus is completely on the 2023 NFL season. It’s a new era for the Commanders. Josh Harris and his group took over as owners on July 20, and the excitement surrounding the franchise is at a 24-year high.
Fans have responded to the new ownership, as Washington’s season ticket sales are up, as are the luxury suites. The Commanders sold out FedEx Field for their Week 1 game against the Arizona Cardinals.
On Thursday, Payne let fans know what he’d like to see during Sunday’s season opener.
“I just want to hear it on 3rd downs for the defense throughout the game, just make sure we can feel you,” Payne said when asked if he had a message for the fans.
Daron Payne wants it LOUD at FedEx Field on Sunday.
He is encouraging every fan to bring the noise.
Daron said, "I just want to hear it on 3rd downs for the defense throughout the game, just make sure we can feel you." pic.twitter.com/dIBnCERtim
— Scott Abraham (@Scott7news) September 7, 2023
Sunday is shaping up to be a significant day in Washington’s franchise history.