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Matrell Spaight Is Optimistic And Ready For The NFL Grind

Fifth-round pick Martrell Spaight has found a comfort zone during his first week with the Redskins and is ready for the NFL grind that awaits him.

Maybe it's the excitement of finishing his first week with an NFL team, but Martrell Spaight currently exists in a supreme state of confidence, brimming with optimism.

The Washington Redskins held their fourth and final rookie minicamp practice of 2015 the afternoon of May 16, 2015, at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va.

"Every day I just feel like, 'Man, this thing is going to be great for us, it's going to work out for us,'" Spaight said Saturday in between rookie minicamp practices. "I've just got a strong feeling everything is going to work out for this team. I think everything is going to go well this season."

Spaight, the linebacker and Redskins' fifth-round pick from Arkansas, has only taken snaps with his fellow rookies, but there's reason to believe his enthusiasm will grow as he continues to participate with veterans during offseason workouts.

Now that he has a rapport with some of the other rookies and coaches, and has begun to understand a new system, he'll be able to show off the reasons for his optimism, and why general manager Scot McCloughan drafted him.

"It's definitely a great system," Spaight said. "I just feel like bring a physical presence to the team. I'm a high-motor guy, I feel like just my presence being out there can do a lot for the team."

The physical presence and sharp football acumen is something McCloughan and head coach Jay Gruden wanted to emphasize in this year's draft selections. Spaight, who led the SEC last season with 128 tackles, certainly brings both of those qualities to the team.

"You know, size is great, man," Gruden told reporters Saturday. "You'd like to have big people, man, because like Scot [McCloughan] says, it's a big man's game… mainly the thing that we liked about our guys was their mental make-up – how much they like to prepare, how much they like football. That's important. You think that's easy to say that everybody would, but it's not always the case."

A story told by Spaight's former coach at Arkansas, Bret Bielema, proves Spaight's devotion.

On a recent radio interview, Bielema recounted a story about recruiting Spaight, in which the linebacker was held out of a game in junior college due to an injury. After the game, the coaches saw Spaight on the field.

"They took away his uniform and his gear because they knew he would try to suit up for the game," Bielema said. "So he had stolen the gear out of his buddy's locker, dressed out in full gear and put himself through a three-hour workout because he didn't want to get behind the teammates in a conditioning factor."

Spaight has kept the same mentality at the NFL level, where everything is quicker and more complex. After practice this week, he's remained on the field, doing extra sprints to improve his conditioning for the long season ahead.

"I know it's going to be a grind, every day is going to be a grind," Spaight said. "I know the change of pace in the game is going to be a little faster so I'm definitely seeing the results of that… but it's definitely a fast paced game, so I've just got to make sure that I'm quick [and] responsible in my job and get to the ball."




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