Linebacker Junior Galette is back with the Redskins and general manager Scot McCloughan knows he's hungry to return in 2016.
Among the most challenging parts of linebacker Junior Galette's lost 2015 season was experiencing it all vicariously through his teammates.
After tearing his Achilles in August near the end of training camp, Galette missed out on a division –winning season, watching the Redskins finish strong down the stretch under quarterback Kirk Cousins to host a playoff game, their first since 2012. But watching everything on television proved harder – and ultimately made him hungrier – than he expected.
"Imagine all those weeks piled up on top of each other, watching your teammates win the division title without you," Galette said. "There's a lot of motivation built in, but I was motivated regardless. It's just this extra juice I've got that I think I've found all over again. Not that I lost it, but I've caught onto it this time and I'm never letting go."
When Galette re-signed with the Redskins last week, he fulfilled a long-held desire to return to the team that extended him an olive branch before training camp last year. General manager Scot McCloughan, knowing the kind of player and personality Galette brings to the table, understood how painful it was for him to sit out.
"It was beyond hard," McCloughan told "Redskins Nation" host Larry Michael Sunday from the Owners Meetings in Boca Raton, Fla. "You know, I've been around this league a long time and been around football players for a long time, and his identity is playing football – practicing, lifting, all that stuff. And when he got hurt, just to see how much it affected him mentally from a standpoint of not being able to be out there helping us on Sundays and having to sit at home watching it on TV when we're on road trips. He's a football player through and through, you know what? And I'm excited to see him healthy, I'm excited to see him help us win."
A lot of people are. Galette, who claimed last week he was at around 80-85 percent recovered, has said that the muscles in his Achilles have strengthened already.
"Doctors tell me the fiber I have right now is thicker," Galette told ESPN980 "It's going to be stronger than it was before. I'm 27 years old, about to be 28. Terrell Suggs tore his Achilles at 31 and had a 12-sack season. We're different types of rushers, but he was older and he came back in six months. Right now I'm at the seven-month period, but we have all the time in the world. I've been doing some get-offs and I feel good."
As has been typically the case, McCloughan's decision to bring back Galette was determined by a variety of reasons, not just the product on the field, which should figure to be a big factor and be the most important upgrade the team has made this offseason.
"You have to go out and produce and show us that you can do it, but the flexibility in his knees and his hips is incredible," McCloughan said. "And his get-off, when the ball is snapped – there's a reason why he had 22 sacks in two years before we signed him. And that's – as you're well aware – in the NFL it's hard to come by. Then you throw the whole package into it with his passion, with his dedication to be a good player, it's going to be a good thing."