The Washington Football Team has shored up its left tackle position for the foreseeable future.
Charles Leno Jr. has signed a three-year extension with the Burgundy & Gold that will keep him in Washington until 2024, the team announced on Friday. Leno was inserted into the starting lineup and was an immediate fit on the offensive line, giving the team one of the most solid groups this season.
"It's been great to have a guy that lines up at left tackle and does his job and does above that," said offensive coordinator Scott Turner. "I mean, again, he's been really doing a nice job of moving guys into the run game."
Leno, a seventh-round pick by the Bears in 2014, spent the previous seven seasons of his career in Chicago and started in 93 consecutive games before being released on May 3. Washington signed him days later, and a big reason why the team was an enticing destination for Leno was because of head coach Ron Rivera and the way he treated his players.
"He doesn't only talk about football. He's deeper than that," Leno told 106.7 The Fan. "He's a man that actually understands life. Just talking to him about life really just made me understand, like, you know what, this is exactly the place I want to go."
The effect Leno has had on Washington's offensive line has been apparent since the season began. Pro Football Focus has given him the third-highest pass-blocking grade (86.5) among tackles. He's been an integral piece of an offensive line that has routinely been one of the best groups in pass-block win rate and run-block win rate, according to ESPN.
"He's progressed very well within our scheme. He's a guy that works at it," Rivera said. "You can see with the way he practices, the way he works with his teammates ... He's done a very, very good job."
"I'm always vocal and I'm always telling guys and communicating with them after or before the play on what I see," Leno said. "I think that helps the O-Line be very successful."
Leno has also embraced an active role in the community, bringing his "Leno Claus" initiative, a 25-day giveback that saw him partner with nonprofits, purchase groceries and rent for a single mother and provide $1,500 towards the mortgage of a woman who recently lost her husband to cancer.
For his efforts, Leno was named the NFLPA's Week 17 Community MVP.
"Being chosen back-to-back years as an NFLPA Community MVP means the world to me," Leno said. "Through Beyond the Entertainer, an organization that my wife and I created, we strive to show that there is more to the entertainer -- and in my case, the athlete -- than what meets the eye."
Leno has made it clear how much he loves being in the DMV, and now he'll be staying for a bit longer.
"I really just love playing with this offensive line," Leno said. "Just so many great guys across the room and I'm super excited and I'm so happy that I'm here."