Called up to the active roster following the Bye Week, rookie Houston Bates takes pride and wants to excel in his role as primarily a special teams player.
Houston Bates was assured that this time, his call up was more than a one-time situation.
After being active the first week of the season against the Miami Dolphins, Bates spent the next seven weeks, including the team's bye, on the 10-man practice squad.
But on the Saturday before the Patriots game, Bates got called into Vice President of Football Administration Eric Schaffer's office.
Schaffer, joined by Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan, shared the news with Bates.
"I get a text message from [Director of Pro Personnel] Alex Santos that said, 'Hey, don't leave before seeing me,'" Bates said. "So I went upstairs and I went in Schaffer's office and Scot McCloughan was in there and they said they had some papers and stuff. They said, 'Yeah, we're going to get you up this week, I was like, 'Oh man, I really appreciate the opportunity.'"
Unlike his activation before the season opener, when he knew it was simply based on replacing an injured Jackson Jeffcoat, this time Bates was told he'll be a part of the active roster for the remaining nine games of the regular season.
Bates said knowing that barring injury he's on the 53-man roster for the rest of the season is rewarding, but it's not making him any more relaxed.
"I actually feel a little bit more obligated to work harder and I think that's what I've done," Bates said. "I've been given the opportunity to play special teams, and I'll do that to the best of my abilities so I want to solidify a spot and work hard to stay there."
While he hasn't seen very much action on the defensive side of things – he has just five snaps on defense over the last three games – Bates could become a big-time special teams contributor down the stretch.
It's a role he'll gladly take on and the primary reason Redskins head coach Jay Gruden wanted him active on game days.
"I love them; that's my bread and butter," Bates said of special teams. "I'll do this for 10 years and not play a snap of defense; it's fine with me. But I'm big on special teams."
Others, like Redskins linebacker Adam Hayward, have made careers out of playing special teams.
Bates has asked him about playing special teams for a living in the past.
"Actually in camp I asked him about it. I said 'Look Adam, I want to play special teams, I can do it, I can be a special teams player,'" Bates said. "He said, 'Look, you've just got to be fierce on every play, go 100 percent, 100 miles per hour and be a hard worker.' I think I got all three of those things so I'm going to try to show Coach [Ben] Kotwica that I'm here to stay and can be an elite special teams player."