Growing up in Baton Rouge, La., and playing college football for his local team, LSU, running back Derrius Guice had a huge adjustment to make by moving approximately 1,200 miles to play in the NFL.
With Loudoun County, Va., (and Ashburn in particular) presenting similar attributes as his hometown, that has allowed Guice to feel comfortable quickly in his new community.
“It’s very hot out here as well, so the only difference I have up here is the food is different,” Guice said. “Everything else, the weather, so far is pretty much the same.”
While the Washington Redskins encourage their players to reach out to the community, their 2018 second-round pick has already gone above and beyond since his arrival.
On the evening before his first OTA session was to begin, Guice bought 50 tickets for fans to go see Avengers with him at the Alamo Drafthouse in One Loudoun in addition to handing out signed cards to fans who joined him.
Guice continued showing his support in the community this past weekend, asking fans on his Twitter if they wanted to go bowling with him on Saturday.
The tweet received 40 replies and Guice spent his Saturday bowling with fans at Bowlero Leesburg.
“He’s got some energy,” Gruden said upon drafting Guice. “Just bottle that up and let that unleash on Sundays, not so much on Thursdays and Fridays. But he’s a fun guy to be around and I enjoyed the small time that we had with him [prior to the draft].”
Showing his support for fellow Washington teams, Guice also attended a Washington Mystics game the following day. Giving support to everyone outside of the organization, Guice is finding his own teammates returning the favor.
Guice discovered that the veterans, especially the running backs, are supportive of him and what he can bring to the team. Their embracing personalities have allowed Guice to adjust to life in Washington, learn the Redskins’ playbook and “make everything easy.”
“You got a lot of vets around here,” Guice said. “They pretty much welcome you with their arms open and take you under their wings and stuff. They do a lot. They just make it easier. They’re not stuck up vets that just want to play. They want to help everybody out to make sure we win.”
That outgoing personality has quickly gone noticed and has spread in a positive way for the Redskins’ running backs. Guice has shown excitement for practice during sessions, according to running back Chris Thompson, and wants to know everything in the playbook by reaching out to Thompson in meetings.
Thompson said that Guice could have had a lot of bitterness after being taken in the second round when he was projected to go in the first round. The fact that Guice is one of the happiest rookies to be involved with the Redskins both on and off the field, Thompson said, is rubbing off on the organization and the community in a positive way.
“After being around him now for a while, he’s just a young 20-year old that’s just enjoying the game and enjoying life,” Thompson said. “You can’t knock a guy for being so happy after he went through all the stuff that he’s been through. He’s just happy and super hyper all the time...It’s been good having him here and I’m glad we got him here. He’s a great kid.”