After an exciting year winning the Grey Cup, Willie Jefferson hopes his experience in Canada will help him succeed as he has another shot in the NFL.
Willie Jefferson is back in the NFL and ready to earn a spot on the Washington Redskins' roster after recently winning a championship in the Canadian Football League.
Check out photos of the entire 2016 Washington Redskins offseason active roster in action.
A native of Beaumont, Texas, Jefferson attended Stephen F. Austin where he would earn first-team All-Southland Conference honors during his senior season, registering a team-high eight sacks and five fumbles forced.
But despite his collegiate success, he was not selected in the 2013 NFL Draft and entered the league as a college free agent with the Houston Texans.
Jefferson would eventually be released by the Texans before a brief stint with the Buffalo Bills. But like his tenure in Houston, his time with Buffalo was short lived.
He would eventually sign with the Edmonton Eskimos and help lead the franchise to a Grey Cup title in 2015.
"It was cool, it's an experience I have been waiting to experience, like championship-wise," Jefferson told Redskins.com. "I was with the team two years in a row and I knew the system, the coaches, players and everything. It was just love."
After the season concluded, Jefferson would sign with the Redskins on Jan. 14, 2016. While the Canadian Football League has some nuances that are quite distinct from the NFL, the outside linebackers believes the differences, especially at his position, are "very small."
"Just learning the plays," Jefferson said of what he needs to do to adjust. "Everything's a little faster, coming from a defense I've learned from two years in the CFL and then learning a new defense here."
Jefferson has serious competition ahead of him for a roster spot at one of the team's deepest positions with the likes of Ryan Kerrigan, Junior Galette and Preston Smith leading the way.
Wanting to grab the attention of the coaches, Jefferson says he wants to "learn the plays as second nature" so that when he steps on the field, his nerves will be eased.
"[That way] I know when to do it, where to do it and how do to it," Jefferson said.
As the team transitions into the last week of offseason workouts – mandatory veteran minicamp – Jefferson is ready for additional opportunities to shine on a close-knit team.
"With that team [Eskimos] and this team [Redskins] the players get along, good coaching, good organization and the city is behind us," Jefferson said. "I'm pretty much coming from one home to another."