The Washington Redskins finally got Junior Galette in game action against the Cincinnati Bengals, but the linebacker said that he still has work to do before returning to his elite pass rushing form.
"It was amazing."
Washington Redskins linebacker Junior Galette uttered this more than once on Sunday evening, just minutes after playing in his first NFL game in nearly three total years.
For most, a two-year layoff following two major injuries would be enough to stop them from having success in the NFL. Let alone those two injuries being torn Achilles, robbing some burst on a player that thrives off his success at the line of scrimmage.
But for Galette, he showed little rust on his first play during Sunday's preseason matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals at FedExField in Landover, Md.
On a 2nd-and-3 play during Cincinnati's first possession, Galette lined up on the right side of Washington's defense opposite 2015 first-round pick Cedric Ogbuehi. Off the snap, Galette ducked under Oguehi's right side and nearly sacked Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton on a three-step drop.
"We've been preparing pretty well, you know, we've got great coaches here who've been giving us keys. It just felt great, man," Galette said. "I've been doing everything I did in the game in practice, so it just felt great to just go do it in live action."
In total, Galette appeared on 21 defensive snaps after not playing in Washington's first two preseason games due to a hamstring injury.
Galette admitted that he's still not quite 100 percent yet, but he needed to get game action in during the preseason before the Redskins open up the regular season in two weeks against the Philadelphia Eagles.
"I'm able to go, but I've just got to keep getting the treatment that they've been giving me," Galette said. "I can't really bend that corner as fast as I want to or just playing with my leg. I'm still thinking about it mentally. So, yeah, it's almost there but I got enough time, got a great coach, he takes care of his guys and you've just got to make sure you bring that energy and passion on the field so he doesn't look crazy.
"So, that's all I got to do is get some rest on it and keep treating it like we've been doing and I'll be fine."
Even though the 29-year-old looked like one of the quickest players on the field, he was slightly frustrated because what he put on tape "is not even me."
"People will be like, 'Man, you're doing good,' but I'm like, 'This is not even me.' I just want to show you guys that I could be so productive, but at the same time: great organization, Jay Gruden, he's been giving me the time that I've needed to get them rested. It was my decision to play [on Sunday] and I went out there and he took care of me again."
The addition of a healthy Galette is a welcoming sight for the defensive unit, as he was one of the NFL's top pass rushers in his final two seasons with the New Orleans Saints.
Galette tallied 22 combined sacks during the 2013-14 seasons, which ranked tied with Ryan Kerrigan for second-most in the NFC and tied for sixth-most in the NFL in that span.
"I was happy to see him out there," Kerrigan said. "I know he's been itching to get out there for a couple years now. Not having been in the first couple games, I know he's been itching to get out there, so it was fun to see 58 flying around.
"He had a couple of really nice rushes and the ball was coming out quick or else it probably would've been a sack-fumble for him. But it was good to see him out there, good to see him making plays and doing what he does."