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Commanders’ Curtis Samuel is excited to ‘finally feel like myself again’

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Curtis Samuel was put on the sidelines before his time with Washington could officially begin at all. The groin injury he sustained just months after signing last year led to surgery, persistent pain and increasing frustration.

“All last year, it was just a different feeling for my body, a different feeling for me mentally,” Commander’s Widescreen said. “I’ve never been in that position before.”

Now Samuel says he feels like himself again – finally.

“I have trained and trained and I have not been limited to anything,” he said. “I’ve done pretty much everything I used to be able to – run fast, cut fast. I’m just feeling good overall and I’m excited about it. In the coming season, I got a lot of goals.”

In the weeks leading up to the start of Washington’s off-season training program, Samuel, along with other Commanders wideout Terry McLaurin, trained at Bommarito Performance Systems in Miami. His first focus was his overall strength and fitness, to accustom his body to withstand four quarters of football and a season of 17 games.

“One thing I’ve learned over the years about my body is that when you start to get tired, you’re more likely to get injured,” he said. “After running for a while, I’ll go into the weight room and try to strengthen my buttocks to get it to the point where everything’s still moving well, if it’s the fourth quarter or an overtime fight. And I feel faster. . ”

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It may sound simple, but for Samuel, whose game is based on his speed and ability to change direction, maintaining these qualities throughout the season requires a nuanced approach.

“This year it was just a way to get back to how he felt in 2020,” said Pete Bommarito, owner of Bommarito Performance Systems and coach of dozens of NFL players. “It was just a matter of him running efficiently. It’s not something you can think of. When you run at 22, 23 miles per hour in a live football match, you can not think about your running pace and efficiency – it has to be done automatically. It can be trained. “

To help Samuel regain his form two years ago when he had 1,051 scrimmage yards with the Carolina Panthers, much of his training this spring has been on his pace, to help him reach top speed faster and spare his muscles and suffered from unnecessary stress.

Bommarito made him run through plyometric exercises and resistance exercises, and then alternate them with sprints and routes. Five minutes of technical work, then five minutes of routes or sprints at full speed. Back and forth, back and forth.

The exercises were tailored to make a little tweak to his movement, something imperceptible when he is at full speed.

“Check the step to make sure they keep their speed,” Bommarito said. “… That was what we really did. It was just to focus on that. When he exceeds and he can not control it, he notices the annoying problems. But it is not unique to him; That’s the case for almost everyone who is lightning fast like him in any sport. “

A glimpse of Samuel’s progress came in a video on social media where he ran a sprint while connected to a resistance coach called a Ki-RO vest. Samuel’s outburst and speed were on display and there were no signs of discomfort or obstruction.

“These types of plyometrics and resistance exercises are what he really responds to,” Bommarito said. “That’s why he looks so fast in that video, because it was after a series of back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. … I said, ‘You see the difference here. We’re 60 minutes into a training session and you’re maximizing your stride now. ‘ Even though the legs are tired, the patterns set in. ”

Towards the end of their training, Bommarito noted that Samuel found his track and “ran as he pleases” – as he did in 2020, and as he hoped in 2021, when Washington signed him as a supplement to McLaurin.

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The former Ohio State roommates had long dreamed of playing together in the NFL. Last year was far from what they imagined; Samuel’s injury limited him to six catches in five games. Year 2 may have a chance to unfold as they had hoped, but Washington’s receiving corps will look a little different.

Commanders prioritized adding playmakers in the offseason to give new quarterback Carson Wentz additional weapons. Last week, they hit Jahan Dotson out of Penn State in the first round, giving them yet another fast-paced and polished route runner to work with McLaurin and Samuel.

“My most important thing is to be available to my teammates – whatever I have to do to take care of my body and to make sure I’m out there,” Samuel said. “It’s a little exciting to finally feel like myself again.”

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