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An Unusual Offseason Has Not Stopped Tress Way From Preparing To Replicate His Pro Bowl Campaign


Tress Way’s offseason training program was unique -- even for an NFL punter.

His mornings typically consisted of hanging out with his 2-year-old twins, Beau and Harper, who love to play in the inflatable pool in their backyard in Oklahoma.

"I think that they might be part frog or part fish," Way said, "because they're just in the water nonstop."

If he was not with his family, which also includes his wife, Brianna, and their 2-month-old daughter, Hadley, he might have been doing punter-specific exercises and weight training in his garage. And if he left the house, he was usually honing his expertise on a high school football field nearby.

Such is life for a Pro Bowl father during a worldwide pandemic.

"Because of all the [COVID-19] stuff and having a newborn, I haven't actually been working out with other players," said Way, who usually trains with former Oklahoma teammate and current Kansas City Chiefs long snapper James Winchester.

"We've kind of been playing it safe. It's just been a weird deal, and when you have a newborn, it's kind of like, 'Why not play it safe?'"

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With the help of Washington strength and conditioning coach Chad Englehart a few years ago, Way set up his garage with the necessary equipment to train whenever he was home. But with all offseason programs being fully virtual this year, he ended up ordering additional equipment to help him stay in shape.

"Thankfully, I don't do a whole lot of running when I'm on the field," said Way, who was the NFC's starting punter in the 2019 Pro Bowl. "I do more of a trot on and trot off."

An undrafted free agent in 2013, Way set career-highs in nearly every statistical category last season while leading the NFL with 49.6 yards per punt. He's also the franchise leader in net average (44.1 in 2019) and punts inside the 20-yard line (41 in 2018). Washington signed Way to a multi-year contract extension in December.

To stay sharp during these unprecedented times, Way frequented the nearby football field. Some NFL players from the area know the coach, Way said, and he gave them the go-ahead to work out there. The only obstacle was having to hop the fence.

"Hopefully I don't make the news for getting arrested for trespassing," Way joked. "But I've been safe for the past few months, so it's been OK."

Way acknowledged the weirdness of a virtual offseason program, but he enjoyed interacting with his teammates and mostly new coaching staff, even if it was just over Zoom. He described head coach Ron Rivera as someone who is "easy to get on board with," so he cannot wait to see the type of culture he instills in Washington.

Way is also thankful to once again be working with special teams coordinator Nate Kaczor, the fun-loving, passionate coach Way credits for his increased confidence.

"He saw things in me that I wanted to see but didn't know they were there," Way said. "He brought them out of me."

But perhaps most of all, Way is ready to rejoin his second family on the field for 2020.

"I'm really excited to see what this season is going to look like, and I am just itching to get back to see everybody."

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