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Was personal experience behind McCloughan signing Galette?

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Richmond, VA. — Promises don’t last long in Washington, whether they are from Republicans, Democrats or the NFL.

In the case of the Washington Redskins new general manager, Scot McCloughan, it took three months.

That is how long ago he said, “The last thing I want to do is try to embarrass this organization, bringing in these so-called ‘bad guys.’ I won’t do that. If there is any kind of question mark that he might be a bad guy, we’re not going to do it.”

On Friday he signed outside linebacker Junior Galette, who was let go four days earlier by New Orleans in the wake of some off-field issues.

Galette allegedly beat women, got into it with coaches, and scuffled with a teammate before a game. He might yet be suspended by the NFL. The Saints decided they no longer wanted their best pass-rusher less than a year after giving him a four-year, $41.5 million contract extension even though letting Galette go meant a salary cap hit of more than $17 million over the next two years.

But, perhaps from personal experience, McCloughan knows that a second chance, a fresh look, might work for everyone.

“We did thorough, thorough research, brought him in, met with him for hours,” said McCloughan, who talked to more than 20 people who know Galette before signing him to a one-year deal at the $745,000 NFL minimum.

McCloughan said he told the player “’I know your football ability. I want to know you as a person.’

“He is so sincere and so excited about the opportunity to prove that he’s a good guy, a good football player and that he’s got a (good) career ahead of him.”

McCloughan added that some team was going to sign Galette and that the Redskins were lucky he chose to visit them first.

“We all have some kind of issues,” said McCloughan, who knows that all too well from his struggles with alcoholism that cost him his previous front-office command in San Francisco, where, arguably, he was the key in building a championship roster.

“We all make mistakes. I don’t want the repeat offenders. I don’t want the guy that I know is not going to be a good guy to bring in our locker room. This guy, we feel very comfortable bringing him on board. I know he’s a really good football player but I’m not gonna bring a bad guy in here. I will not give on that at all. He has to walk the line and he knows that. If he doesn’t, he’s gone.”

Galette’s 22 sacks the past two seasons almost matched last season’s total for all Washington players not named Ryan Kerrigan, which is why he’s expecting to leapfrog second-year man Trent Murphy and rookie Preston Smith to grab the vacancy opened opposite Kerrigan when Brian Orakpo signed with Tennessee.

“I’m thankful to be here, just thankful to have the opportunity,” Galette said. “(I’m) just blessed and grateful to be a (Redskin). We all make mistakes … I just want to move forward and not worry about the past but just what’s ahead of me.”

–Training camp couldn’t have started worse for Bashaud Breeland. The second-year cornerback who was expected to battle to start with DeAngelo Hall, whom he replaced last October, was suspended Friday for the opener because of a 2014 marijuana possession charge. Later Friday, Breeland was writhing in pain after tearing the MCL in his right knee.

“I think we got the best-case scenario, probably, for what we thought,” head coach Jay Gruden said. “While he was writhing in pain there we thought it was pretty bad, but it looks like it probably will be four to six weeks. It’s a long season and he’s going to be a big part of our football team. It’s a big loss for us because not only can he play inside at nickel, he can play outside, and he’s a key member of our special teams.”

In the short term, holdover backup Justin Rogers is playing in the slot in nickel situations with Hall and Chris Culliver the starting corners.

Matters got even worse for Washington at cornerback over the next three days. On Monday, returning starter David Amerson landed on his left shoulder while covering DeSean Jackson on a deep route. Amerson left practice before returning to the sideline with the shoulder heavily taped. Earlier in the day, Gruden announced that Tevin Mitchel, a sixth-round choice, will have surgery and likely miss the season after injuring a shoulder during Saturday’s practice.

–The Redskins have other high-profile players, but the biggest profile has been that of Robert Griffin III in the three-plus years since he was drafted No. 2 overall in 2012.

Griffin was the record-setting Offensive Rookie of the Year while leading Washington to the NFC East title in 2012, its only playoff season since 2007. But he was just 5-15 the past two years while recovering from two torn knee ligaments (January 2013) and a dislocated ankle (September 2014).

“Unfortunately for Robert, he’s had one great year — his rookie year — then he had a couple injury issues, so he hasn’t been able to put back-to-back (good) years together yet,” said Gruden, who has proclaimed Griffin the starter ahead of Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy, who combined to start nine of Washington’s 16 games last season. “He’s got the talent, obviously the arm strength, the mobility that you’re looking for. We’ve just got to keep him on the field healthy and he’s got to continue to develop.”

Griffin said those injuries have been much bigger than the constant criticism he has faced over the last two years.

“You can’t worry about what other people say — that’s not who you play for,” Griffin said. “You play for your teammates, your coaches and your city. … The injuries have definitely been harder to overcome. … I’m great mentally. Coming into the second year of the offense it’s a little easier knowing what to expect. As long as the threat of the run is there it makes the play-action a lot easier. So I look forward to establishing that threat, not only myself, but heavy dosages of Alfred (Morris). … (And) when you have to drop back and pass, you drop back and pass. You can stay within your offense, whatever fabric that coach wants it to be.”


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