Junior Galette is optimistic that despite another Achilles injury suffered, he'll be able to make it back on the field soon and be the same explosive player that was a pass rushing nightmare.
For Junior Galette, it was Deja Vu.
He thought his friend had kicked him in the back of his right leg while he was working out in preparation for training camp this week. When he turned around, he realized it was a nightmare scenario. After spending the last year rehabbing his left Achilles, his right Achilles was now in pain.
Shocked, Galette stood up and tried to walk it off. He immediately called the team physician and scheduled an MRI. Galette was hopeful that it was a partial tear, or even a strain, which would let him return in a matter of weeks.
It was not a strain. The MRI confirmed Galette had torn his right Achilles. He has been declared out for the season.
"My Achilles, literally my Achilles heel is my weak point of the body type that God made me," Galette said. "Let's get them repaired, now they're both repaired. I (will) come back stronger and better than ever because I know exactly what it takes to come back."
Galette's doctors told him that the injury was inevitable.
"The type of athlete I am and the explosion I have, the muscle fiber in my right Achilles was not strong enough to hold up all the training I've been doing and that it was something that would have happened whether I was doing drills, it didn't matter, it was going to happen," Galette said.
Despite Galette's feeling of inevitability, his injury caught many of his teammates by surprise. His rehab was going well and he had a reputation as one of the hardest workers on the team.
"The way he works, he's got a 100 percent motor all the time that is contagious," defensive end Chris Baker said. "I remember the first couple weeks when he was practicing with us, he was always the guy running down the field 40, 50 yards, he runs to the ball every time. He's very explosive."
Check out behind the scenes images from Linebacker, Junior Galette's 2016 Redskins Photo Shoot.
Galette had been described as being in the best shape of his life. While many players express that sentiment in the offseason, Galette was so confident in his body that he had been planning on doing his training camp conditioning test with the defensive backs. Now he is prepping for surgery.
Galette is in surprisingly good spirits considering his situation. Many would loathe to trudge through the same rehabilitation process, but Galette feels lucky that he has been through the rehab before and can focus on getting back on the field soon as he tries to make the most of his athletic prime.
"It was inevitable, it happened, I'm not gonna sulk on it, I'm getting surgery Monday and I cannot wait to start this rehab process," Galette said. "Obviously I'll have to be in a boot for a month, but I know exactly what I have to do to rehabilitate myself and be back in the best form I've ever been in."
Galette was expected to make waves on defense this season and provide the boost to the Redskins pass rush that could take the defense to the next level. With him back at square one, Galette expects his fellow outside linebackers, including second-year linebacker Preston Smith, to step up.
"Obviously Preston Smith is a phenomenal athlete and I don't want to put too much pressure on him but it is what it is, I tell him all the time he's a superstar in the making," Galette said. "The guy is 6-foot-5, 270 pounds and can run like a gazelle, has long arms, has a body type that you can't find. I just told him to get himself in better condition, which he did this offseason. We've done a lot of training regiments together and he's in the best shape he's ever been in, and to have that mindset as a second-year guy, I've never seen that before"
Smith led all NFL rookies with eight sacks last season and now will be carrying even heavier expectations entering his already hyped second season.
"I was disappointed because I really wanted to play with him and Junior is a really hard working guy," Smith said. "I worked a lot with him this offseason when we had the chance really frequently like week to week. He always went hard, so I know him going so hard and the injury happening I know he was still doing what he loved when it happened, and it wasn't just a mishap."
Galette stressed that Smith should not be considered a replacement and that he will make his own unique impact.
"[Preston Smith] is going to fill Junior Galette's shoes? No. Preston Smith is going to fill his shoes, he's going be the best that he can be," Galette said.
Galette praised the loyalty of general manager Scot McCloughan, who called Galette after his injury, and expressed a desire to stay a part of Redskins Nation when his contract is up at the end of the season.
"(McCloughan) knows how hard I worked to come back, everybody on the training staff knows how hard I worked to come back, and they know the loyalty and passion that I have is there," Galette said. "I really feel like since day one I came, the fans embraced me so much that as a human being, as the loyal person I am, there's no other team, there's no other home for me."
If Galette's positivity is surprising, perhaps it is because he understands what is at stake.
"This is literally my last roll of the dice and Lord willing I roll a good one this time," Galette said.