It was around this time a year ago that former Redskins safety Kyshoen Jarrett accepted a harsh realization: his NFL playing days were over.
His career spanned 16 games in 2015 -- a promising rookie campaign that included 57 tackles, four passes defensed and one forced fumble. But then came the hit, a nerve-crushing blow in the regular season finale that rendered his right arm useless. Multiple surgeries and rehab stints have helped him regain some strength and flexibility, but the lasting effects of the spinal cord injury proved too great to come back from.
Acknowledging this reality took some time, Jarrett said, but once he did so, he was able to shift his focus towards a different NFL endeavor.
"I believe I want to start pursuing a coaching career," Jarrett remembers telling Redskins head coach Jay Gruden during the spring of 2018. "I believe there’s a purpose there for me, and he was open to it.”
About a year after his meeting with Gruden, Jarrett appeared on "Redskins Nation" to discuss his new role as the Redskins' defensive quality control coach and what it means to return to Washington in a full-time capacity.
"This has been a long time coming being a player and what that experience was like for me and then the gap of time that I wasn’t really in anybody’s public eye," Jarrett said. "And then to get to this point officially, and the hard work that had to be put in -- the mental toughness -- just to get over ... not being able to play anymore and that nature. But to finally get here, it’s exciting."
Last season, Jarrett served as the Redskins' defensive coaching intern, working primarily with the nickel cornerbacks during practice and film sessions. He absorbed as much information as he could from defensive backs coach Torrian Gray, who now coaches at the University of Florida, as well as assistant defensive backs coach James Rowe and defensive quality control coach Cannon Matthews.
“Kyshoen was a valuable asset to our coaching staff last season,” Gruden said in a statement regarding Jarrett's hiring. "He is a quality coach and a quality person and I have complete trust in him succeeding in this new role.”
In his new role, Jarrett said he will continue to lean on Matthews, who he views as a mentor. And he's already begun gleaning knowledge from defensive backs coach Ray Horton and offensive quality control coach Chris O'Hara. Their experiences will only benefit Jarrett as he aims to help the assistant coaches in any way possible and carve out a niche with the defensive backs under Horton.
"Maybe it’s with the rookies, maybe it’s with the nickelbacks," Jarrett said. "He understands the type of influence I had during my rookie year and how I was able to transition from different positions, and I feel like that could be of great use for the players that we have for sure.”
Jarrett also hopes to be a resource for players struggling mentally or emotionally. After all, he knows what it's like to be a late-round draft pick -- in his case, a sixth-round selection in the 2015 NFL Draft -- and then immediately develop into a significant contributor. He's accomplished his dreams of becoming a professional athlete, then had all of that stripped away from him during a routine play in a meaningless game.
"I feel like I’m an outlet based on what I had to go through during that time to then overcome to be in this position today," Jarrett said. "I believe I’m a living testament to that.”
As for his current emotional state, Jarrett feels great. His family and friends are happy and excited for him, and he's anxious to get started.
“It was tough for a couple of years, ancd this organization stuck around me and they kept their doors open," Jarrett said. "I commend Dan Snyder, Bruce Allen, Jay Gruden for continuing to open the doors for me. I’m very thankful."