On Monday, the Washington Football Team made the decision to release quarterback Dwayne Haskins. The former No. 15 overall pick didn't last two full seasons in D.C., and the final week of his tenure in Washington was defined by poor play on and off the field. After starting quarterback Alex Smith went down with a calf injury, Haskins was reinserted into the starting lineup in Week 15 for Washington's matchup with the Seattle Seahawks. He threw for 295 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in the 20-15 loss, and unfortunately grabbed headlines with what he did after the final whistle.
Haskins was seen at an exotic club not wearing a mask, which was a clear violation of COVID-19 protocols. He apologized to his teammates for his mistake, and was both fined and stripped of his title as captain. Haskins was then given another chance to start and secure an NFC East title in Week 16 against the Carolina Panthers, but he threw for just 154 yards and two interceptions before being benched for Taylor Heinicke in the second half. Less than 24 hours later, Haskins found himself without a job.
On Monday afternoon, Haskins spoke with WUSA9's Darren Haynes to discuss what he described to be the "worst week of his life," and to talk about what he will take away from this difficult experience.
"Gotta be accountable for the decisions you make in life, and be able to move forward and make the best decisions," Haskins said. "I have no doubt in my mind that I can overcome this, grow and become a better person, a better athlete, a better quarterback and a better leader because of this. That's something I'm praying and working on to show. I'm hoping that a new change in scenery will help with that."
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Haskins says he feels like he has the skills necessary to be a starting quarterback in the NFL, but he needs someone to once again take a chance on him. He understands that there have been questions about how he handles himself off the field or about his work ethic, but the former Ohio State star says that he's dedicated to the game of football and doing everything necessary to prove his worth to his next team.
"I definitely feel like I have the skills to play quarterback at a high level in the NFL, and that's just something I need someone to believe in me and give me the opportunity and I have to earn that, I have to work for that," Haskins said. "By no means will it be easy, and I'm definitely willing to put the work in to earn that whether that's right away or in the future. (I) just love playing football, I love the game and I've dedicated my life to this and even if there was a question about it before, I will end those questions later."
Haskins will now enter waivers, and any team that claims him will be on the hook for $68,000 for Week 17 and approximately $4.3 million fully guaranteed over the remainder of his contract, per ESPN's Dan Graziano. We will find out this week if Haskins will be given a second chance with another club right away, but he does indeed have a ways to go if he's going to prove he's the future leader of a franchise.