Friday's NFL: Commanders DE Chase Young to miss at least opener

By Stephen Whyno
Associated Press

Ashburn, Va. — Chase Young will not be ready to play Week 1 for the Washington Commanders, coach Ron Rivera confirmed Friday in ruling out the standout pass-rusher for at least the season opener.

Young could miss more than just Washington’s first game, Sept. 11 against Jacksonville, if he goes on injured reserve or remains on the physically unable to perform list. The 2020 Defensive Rookie of the Year is working back from surgery to repair a torn ACL in his right knee.

Commanders defensive end Chase Young works out during a training camp practice.

“It’s unfortunate,” Rivera said. “But it was a serious injury, obviously, with surgery, and he’s doing everything he’s supposed to.”

Rivera said Young, who injured the knee Nov. 14 against Tampa Bay, did not have a setback in his recovery and is on schedule.

“He’s on time as far as where the doctors think he should be, and as he gets better and better we can update you,” he said. “But right now, he’s right where he needs to be.”

Rivera initially said he expected Young to start the season on the PUP list, which would mean missing the first four games of the season. After opening against the Jaguars, the Commanders play Detroit, Philadelphia and Dallas — games Young would also miss if he lands on IR.

Young had part of his left patellar tendon grafted into his right knee to help fix the tear. It’s unclear if that’s why he’s behind tight end Logan Thomas, who tore multiple ligaments in his left knee later last season, though Rivera called them different injuries.

Rivera has refused put a timeline on Young getting cleared to play.

“I don’t think there’s a fair timetable,” Rivera said. “You guys want me to give you number. I can’t give you a number. I don’t want to put pressure on the young man to try to hit a number that I can’t give you.”

Young, 23, said early in the offseason he anticipated being ready for Week 1. But he struck a more conservative tone during workouts last month.

“Obviously I want to be back there as fast as I can, but right now I’m just taking it one day at a time and I’m getting better fast,” Young said. “I can’t rush it.”

It seemed clear earlier in the week Young would not be coming back any time soon, when Rivera pronounced the Ohio State product the furthest away of Washington’s injured players. Starting center Chase Roullier, the closest after breaking his left fibula last year, was activated off the PUP list and returned to practice Friday.

Young is on the field working with other injured teammates and is still involved in other preparation aspects.

“We’re all watching film together, talking through things,” fellow defensive lineman Daron Payne said. “When he gets back out there, it’ll just be him getting a feel of rushing with me and rushing with other guys.”

Young won’t see game action until he’s fully healthy, something Rivera reiterated in line with the cautious approach the organization, doctors and trainers are taking with the face of the franchise.

Payne is not concerned about how Young is facing the prospect of such an extended absence.

“I feel like it’s just a mindset thing,” he said. “Chase, he’s got a real good head on his shoulders and I feel like he’s just ready to get back out there and show everybody what he’s got.”

No decision on Watson

The wait for a decision on potential discipline for Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson following accusations of sexual misconduct will continue into another week.

Two people with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press that retired judge Sue L. Robinson is not issuing a ruling Friday on Watson’s disciplinary hearing that concluded a month ago. They spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the discussions are private.

Watson was accused of sexual harassment and assault by 24 massage therapists in Texas and has settled 20 of the civil lawsuits filed against him. Four lawsuits remain pending and the attorney representing the women has said he hopes to take them to trial sometime next spring.

Two separate Texas grand juries declined to indict Watson on criminal complaints stemming from the allegations.

Watson, who played for four seasons with Houston before being traded to Cleveland in March, has been practicing with the Browns while Robinson has spent weeks trying to determine whether the three-time Pro Bowl quarterback violated the NFL’s personal conduct policy and whether to impose discipline.

The league argued for an indefinite suspension of at least one year during a three-day hearing in Delaware last month. The NFL Players’ Association pushed for no punishment, though a person familiar with Watson’s defense told the AP in June that a suspension is expected and the goal is to have Watson play this season.

Both sides submitted post-hearing briefs by July 12 and hoped for a decision before training camp opened this week. Robinson is carefully considering the case and isn’t held to a deadline.