By: Ryan Cooley
Washington running back Derrius Guice was released from the team after he turned himself in at the Loudoun Adult Detention Center on August 7th. Guice has been charged with one count of Strangulation, three counts of Assault and Battery, and one count of Destruction of Property. These charges stem from incidents that occurred earlier this year.
The offseason has been very up and down for Washington. They have gone through a complete rebrand since January with a new front office, coaching staff, and even a new name. While there has been a lot of good, there has also been a lot of bad. Fans have had to endure injuries, serious sexual assault allegations, and now this from Guice.
Even with the charges, Guice will need to be proven guilty before any conclusions are made. However, these charges were not from one incident. They happened separately this year. The first one occurred on February 14th, the second on March 13th, and the third on April 17th. It is also not a good sign that he turned himself in. On top of that, he had some character issues coming out of LSU. For all of these reasons, it is difficult for people to not assume the worst.
If Guice is proven guilty, hopefully, he will never play another snap in the NFL. There is no place for people like him in this league, and I believe they need to do a better job of not giving these types of players a second chance. This is a serious issue that the NFL has not cracked down on enough.
I was impressed with how fast Rivera handled this situation. He has preached about the change in culture since he took the job with Washington. He has proven time and again, he will not tolerate players that are not 100% focused on football or have off-field issues. Back in 2018, Rivera took Guice off the Panther’s draft board due to character concerns. On draft night NFL Network’s and now Raiders GM, Mike Mayock, discussed why Guice was falling: “there’s another investigation out there that could be potentially highly embarrassing to the kid and maybe to the team that selects him.” Nothing ever came of that, but two years later, it makes you wonder if this was domestic violence-related back then.
Even with the release of Guice, Washington’s running back room is fine. They have Adrian Peterson, Bryce Love, J.D. McKissic, Peyton Barber, and rookie Antonio Gibson. I expect Peterson to yet again be the bell cow back for the offense. However, they may be better suited to rotate some of them. With some blows to the receiving core, I anticipated Gibson to be utilized more as a receiver, but that may change with the departure of Guice.
While many are discouraged with what seems like an endless stream of bad news for Washington, they must realize things usually get worse before they get better. This was one of the most dysfunctional franchises in all of sports, and they are working toward changing that. I praise Ron Rivera for everything he has done in his short time here. Washington is headed in the right direction and hopefully will have a thriving franchise in the near future.