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Ron Rivera, Terry McLaurin Share Mutual Respect Ahead Of First Season Together With Redskins

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Ron Rivera arrived at Super Bowl LIV in Miami with a clear agenda: familiarize the public about the new era of Washington Redskins football.

His dozens of media appearances focused on establishing a "sustainable winning culture" by building around a strong core of players. The next step will be to determine who those players are -- a process Rivera said will begin when the coaching staff returns to Redskins Park on Feb. 10.

Some of those difference makers have already been identified, however, and one of them, Terry McLaurin, was also roaming around Radio Row this past week. McLaurin had nothing but good things to say about his new head coach, while Rivera was equally complimentary of his No. 1 wide receiver.

"I had an opportunity to sit down and talk with Terry McLaurin, and ... here's a guy that is potentially one of our core players," Rivera told Voice of the Redskins Larry Michael and staff writer Kyle Stackpole on Thursday.

"I mean, here's a guy that had a very good rookie year, and as you think about that, this is one thing that I get excited about. He was a third-round pick and you go, 'Wow, a guy like that coming in and competing, next season will not be too big for him.'"

McLaurin, who was in Miami to discuss his involvement with Youth Entrepreneurs, among other topics, said he first met Rivera at last year's NFL Combine. It's not often that a draft prospect has a 1-on-1 conversation with an NFL head coach, McLaurin said, but the two got to talking and began forming a genuine relationship.

"We didn't really talk about football; just life, our similar views and the way we approach it," McLaurin told Michael and Stackpole on the same day. "He respected how tough I am, how I approach the game, and those are the same things he's going to bring to the Redskins."

The two sides went their separates ways after that week in Indianapolis -- McLaurin ended up in Washington and Rivera returned to Carolina -- but it was not long before their paths crossed again.

McLaurin went on to have one of the best seasons by a rookie receiver in Redskins history and establish himself as the team's No. 1 playmaker. Among NFL rookies, the third-round selection finished near the top in nearly every statistical category.

Rivera's Panthers were not nearly as successful. After starting the season 5-3, they dropped eight straight games, which included a 29-21 loss to the Redskins in Week 13.

Carolina relieved Rivera of his duties after that defeat, which opened the door for what transpired exactly one month later when the Redskins named Rivera as their 30th head coach in franchise history.

"Just that attention to detail, the toughness and the fundamentals that are so important to the game," McLaurin said about what Rivera will bring to this organization. "And most importantly the want to compete at all times."

After evaluating the current roster, Rivera and the coaching staff will spend the next few months preparing for the NFL Combine, free agency and the draft. Each component will provide a clearer picture for how the Redskins will look in 2020.

McLaurin, meanwhile, will be in South Florida training with some other NFL players, including former Ohio State teammate and current Panthers wide receiver Curtis Samuel. McLaurin is proud of what he accomplished as a rookie, but he's keen on improving his route running and durability in year two.

Then it's back to Redskins Park for organized team activities (OTAs) in late May. They cannot wait to get started.

"It's been cool to see his vision. He's kind of like me," McLaurin said of Rivera. "We're obligated to talk about it, but we're ready to get to work."

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