There is a deep connection between NFL football and the military. For Washington Football Team defensive end Chase Young, the connection is personal and professional.
Turn on a game any week in the NFL and you're likely to see some sort of military symbolism or representation. Maybe it's a uniformed service member on the field or in the stands, a flyover, or even camouflage-themed gear being worn during specific portions of seasons past.
Maybe it's a USAA commercial, something that's become more and more prevalent during recent times, and there's no coincidence there. With as tight a bond as military members generally feel with the game of football, and the NFL, it's the perfect opportunity to speak directly to the members they're looking to recruit.
For Young, the personal connection to USAA's member pool is represented by his bond with his grandfather.
In a video made by ESPN for the "Home Base with USAA" series, Young reflects on his grandfather with the network's Gary Stiewski, and the impact he made on the future NFL star's upbringing.
"Military affected how he carried himself," Young said of his grandfather, Carl. "He showed me a lot of qualities and he led by example. I feel like a lot of things that he did, helped me. One is just being accountable for everything that you do."
"All we have to do right now is stick together," Young said when asked about the team's disappointing 1-2 start. "We're not pointing a finger. We're working together as a team...trying to get this thing together."
The mission ahead is simple to understand. More complex to execute.
Washington's defense specifically has seen a sold lineup of quarterbacks already, just three weeks into the season.
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Fellow second-year player Justin Herbert quarterbacked the Los Angeles Chargers to a Week 1 win over Washington, and then it was athletic gunslinger Josh Allen leading his Buffalo Bills to a home victory, just this past weekend.
Next up, Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons. Followed by names like Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers, and only the most accomplished quarterback of all time, Tom Brady.
The mountain this team has to climb would strike fear into even the most experienced alpinist. For Young, however, a different feeling comes over him when he looks at the challenge ahead.
"That's definitely motivation," said Young. "And just a blessing that God gives me another opportunity every week to go against the best...That's all that we're about"
Sticking with the military theme, it takes every member of the formation working towards the unit's mission, to make it happen. This need for united effort isn't lost on Young, who sees it as the key to helping the defense get off to faster starts, and hold up better against the competition still to come.
"(We just need to) play together more," Young said. "If we can do (that) you'll see a big change."
A big change is what Washington fans would love to see this weekend in Atlanta. It's also what Young went through last year as a rookie.
Hear more about the new home he has set up in Virginia since joining the WFT in the video below.
And to hear more on his home, his connection with the military, and the football challenges laid out in front of the 2020 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and his teammates, tune in to Locked On Washington Football Team.