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Terry McLaurin stays humble after back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons

Terry McLaurin steps out of bounds after grabbing a 40-yard reception during the Washington Football Team's Week 18 game against the New York Giants. (Emilee Fails/Washington Football Team)
Terry McLaurin steps out of bounds after grabbing a 40-yard reception during the Washington Football Team's Week 18 game against the New York Giants. (Emilee Fails/Washington Football Team)

Terry McLaurin could be qualified as what Michael Scott from The Office would call "a littlestitious."

He's not one to believe in creating bad luck by bragging about things before they happen, but he also didn't want to jinx the fact that he was close to getting a 1,000-yard season. Still, he knew he was close to reaching the milestone for the second straight season.

"The guys were telling me all week, 'We got to get you to 1,000, you got to get to 1,000,'" McLaurin said after the game. "That means a lot to me that so many guys wanted me to get that milestone and the accolade."

Fortunately, McLaurin didn't have to wait long during the Washington Football Team's season finale against the New York Giants to surpass the mark. His 41 yards on the offense's opening drive pushed him over 1,000 yards for the season, making him the first player to accomplish the feat in back-to-back seasons since Henry Ellard in the 1994-96 seasons.

And now that it's officially happened -- and he feels comfortable enough to talk about it -- he's putting the praise on everyone but himself.

"I don't think I could really do that without the guys that are in the locker room, from the quarterbacks, to the O-line, to the other receivers," McLaurin said.

Trust is one of the main things McLaurin has wanted to earn during his career. He's aspired to be a model of consistency that the team can rely upon, no matter the circumstance. In his first three seasons, he's done that in several facets: he has 3,090 yards in that span and leads the league in contested catches since 2020. He became a captain in his second season and retained that title in 2021.

And McLaurin is more than willing to share his knowledge with his teammates. He has given tips to Washington's younger wideouts, despite not being much older than them. He's also been unselfish about getting the ball, insisting that the offense run the plays that are best for the team.

It's because of those qualities that McLaurin's teammates were excited to help him add another accolade to his resume.

"Yeah, we wanted to get him that," said quarterback Taylor Heinicke. "It's a big accomplishment. It's his third year and he's got two of them already. It's huge and it just shows."

It's always a priority for Washington to make sure the ball gets in McLaurin's hands, but Heinicke said "it was kind of a big emphasis" as Washington prepared for the Giants. And it's clear why Washington wanted to do that; the team is 3-1 when McLaurin gets at least 90 yards.

"I feel like it says a lot about the trust they have in me and just the way they support me, so I really appreciated that," McLaurin said.

Getting back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons puts McLaurin in a rare group. He joins Ellard, Bobby Mitchell, Art Monk and Gary Clark as the only players in franchise history to accomplish it. All four players are universally recognized as some of the greatest players to suit up for the Burgundy & Gold.

The Washington Football Team wraps up its 2021 season with a road matchup against the New York Giants. (Photos by Emilee Fails/Washington Football Team)

Even though he has every reason to boast, McLaurin points to others as the reason for his success. It's part of what makes the young receiver "the ultimate pro" to head coach Ron Rivera.

"I have not seen him wear any of his emotions on his sleeve, other than the excitement of when something big happens," Rivera said. "When he does something big or the team does something big, then you really do see the emotions come out … He's one of those few guys that's handled themselves the right way."

Whether he wants to admit it or not, McLaurin has emerged as one of the best young talents in the NFL, but he also knows that his work can't stop. As receivers coach Drew Terrell reminded him, the hardest thing to do after getting 1,000 yards is repeating it. He knows he has to keep earning that respect, and that's exactly the way he wants it.

"That's been my mentality since I got drafted here, and I don't think that's going to change," McLaurin said.