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Daron Payne was all smiles as he perused the halls of the Washington Commanders' facility. Securing a long-term future and acquiring well-earned generational wealth tends to brighten people's spirits.
Payne made a proclamation to the Commanders after they decided to wait a year on giving him a contract extension prior to the 2022 season: he was going to show them why he deserved to wear the Burgundy & Gold for the foreseeable future. One year later, Payne kept his word by tying the franchise record for sacks by an interior defensive tackle.
Payne knows there are a lot of people who have helped him get to this point in his career, and after he signed the deal that officially signed his extension, he spent some time thanking each of them for all they have helped him accomplish.
"Everybody in here helps me do my job at a high level on Sundays," Payne said on the latest episode of "Commanders Log." "I'm very appreciative of it."
Payne's first stop was the place where he perhaps spends the most time besides the practice field during the regular season: the weight room. Head of strength and conditioning coach Chad Englehart, assistant strength and conditioning coach Kavan Latham, director of player performance Brett Nenaber and assistant strength and conditioning coach/nutritionist Jake Sankal were all going about their day, but as soon as they noticed Payne walk in the room, they all broke out in applause.
After a couple jokes about giving Payne their Venmo accounts, they let him know how much they appreciated him for all the work he had put in with them over the last five seasons.
"Man, we were so happy for you, bro, for real," Englehart told Payne. "You got paid, bruh."
After a brief stop at the training room, where he was congratulated by assistant athletic trainer Masahiro Takahagi, director of rehabilitation/physical therapist Jeff Ruiz, assistant athletic trainer/physical therapist Lindsay Gately and Sam Cosmi, Payne moved on to the equipment room, where he "probably bugs these guys more than I should."
"But I always take care of them, and they always take care of me," Payne said. "So, I appreciate everyone around here."
And as he embraced co-equipment managers Drew Curls and Justin Brooks, he joked that they were going to get four more years of him asking for extra cleats, shirts and sweats.
"I'm back bugging you guys every day, if not harder just 'cause I know that I'm gonna be here longer," Payne said with a smile.
Payne proved that he was one of the best defensive tackles in football last season by padding the stats and reaching career-highs. On top of his 11.5 sacks, Payne recorded 64 tackles, 20 quarterback hits, five pass breakups, a fumble recovery and a safety.
All the help Payne got in the weight room, training room and from the equipment staff during his breakout performance might seem minute, but they all mattered to him. He got the glory on the field, but he wanted to remind all of them that they played a significant role in making it happen.
Check out the full episode of "Commanders Log," at 7 p.m. and the Season 2 debut and episode from Season 1, on the "Commanders Log" page, HERE.