Why did Washington players respect Taylor Heinicke so quickly? He has a theory

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Peter Hailey
·2 min read
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Why did Washington players quickly respect Heinicke? He explains originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

For someone who originally joined the Washington Football Team a little more than two months ago and appeared in just five quarters of action for the franchise, Taylor Heinicke sure appeared to earn the admiration of the other players on the roster rather quickly.

"He has my respect," Terry McLaurin, a top-notch judge of character, told reporters after Heinicke put on a show against the Buccaneers in the playoffs. "I hope we're teammates in the future."

Thanks to the Wednesday news of Heinicke's contract extension, McLaurin will get his wish. Others, such as Chase Young, are surely pleased about the development related to Hein-ick-EE, too.

So, how in the hell did he make such progress in such a short amount of time with a roster that he barely knew? During a press conference to discuss his deal, Heinicke presented a theory.

"I think a lot had to do with the work ethic and preparation," he told reporters. "Me and Chase, that whole thing was really cool, and I think that all started with him seeing me there in the locker room with no one else there, just studying. I think that meant a lot to a lot of people."

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As exhilarating as his postseason pylon touchdown versus Tampa was, Heinicke's likely spot on with that answer. Balling out on the field is certainly one way to garner attention, but pros really appreciate when other pros approach the game in such a devoted way.

That's largely why Alex Smith is so revered — his once-in-a-lifetime comeback also matters, of course — and why Ron Rivera and Scott Turner were willing to give Heinicke another shot when Washington needed insurance under center late in 2020. They had a connection to him and knew that he would deliver in terms of studying and learning.

"I came to the facility and I tried to take care of business," Heinicke sad. "It was all business for me. I knew this might be my last opportunity so I was going to make the best of it."

Well, because he attacked the chance that Washington gave him with that sort of mindset, Heinicke ended up ensuring that it was, in fact, not his last opportunity.