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Broderick Washington's New Contract Won't Extinguish His Fire

DT Broderick Washington
DT Broderick Washington

Broderick Washington isn't one to display much emotion, but it was difficult for him to stay low-key after signing a three-year contract extension this week.

Washington thought about his mother, Tameka, who made so many sacrifices as a single parent. He thought about the support he has gotten from teammates and coaches who have watched him grow into a mainstay on Baltimore's defensive line.

Following Wednesday's practice, Washington was the center of attention, receiving congratulations on the field before he stood at the podium and answered questions from the media. The entire team let out a big cheer for Washington hours after he inked his deal. Being in the spotlight isn't really Washington's thing. But he's grateful for the new contract and determined to become a dominant force on the Ravens' defensive line.

"I'm glad my mom wasn't here; I would have cried, and I'm kind of, supposedly, a tough guy here, so that wouldn't have looked good on me," Washington said. "Normally, I kind of just stay to myself in the building. I speak to everybody and stuff like that, but just to see those guys embrace me the way they did, it meant a lot. I was just filled with happiness, honestly."

Washington is expected to be an anchor on Baltimore's defensive line that also includes Justin Madubuike, Michael Pierce, Brent Urban and Travis Jones. One notable name missing is Calais Campbell, who signed with the Falcons during the offseason after spending the past three seasons as one of Baltimore's most respected players.

Campbell was a mentor to Washington and he dreamed of them winning a Super Bowl together. Now that Campbell has departed, Washington is projected to start in his place and determined to help fill the void. Don't expect him to make as many speeches as Campbell, but Washington will become more of a leader by example.

"It's kind of hard to fill those shoes so I kind of don't even try," Washington said. "I was sick when he left us. It kind of hurt my feelings. I understand it's a business. But the values and standard that he set here, I try to keep that every day. He showed me the way."

Washington had a career-high 49 tackles last year and excelled as a run-stopper who was difficult for any offensive lineman to handle one-on-one. He also had four quarterback hits and a sack, but Washington believes he can make a significant jump as a pass rusher. Campbell and Madubuike had 5.5 sacks last season to lead the defensive linemen, and Washington has been working on pass-rushing techniques with new Outside Linebackers Coach Chuck Smith.

"Without Calais, there are a lot of pass rush snaps up for grabs, and I'm trying to be one of the guys that's getting some of them," Washington said. "Chuck, every day, he's got something for the guys in the pass rush department, and he's been a great help for everybody – for the whole room, honestly. He makes us better as a unit, and we're going to continue to grow with him."

Washington has blossomed from a shy, fifth-round pick in 2020 into a confident player who now has a second NFL contract. His mother is coming to town for Saturday's preseason opener, and Washington looks forward to celebrating with his biggest supporter. Earlier in training camp, Defensive Line Coach Anthony Weaver said he doesn't know a person in the Ravens' building who works harder than Washington. Washington credits his mother with instilling that work ethic in him.

"I grew up in a single-parent home, for the most part, and, shoot, I watched my mom grind through everything by herself. So, I come in, and I don't allow myself to have excuses," Washington said.

"I've been trying to hold back the emotion, just for her, because that's who I really want to share the moment with; I want to share it with my whole family. But my mom, she's been with me through it all [and] always had my back. I just can't wait to just embrace her and have that moment with her."

At age 26, Washington's NFL journey has a long way to go. In many ways, his contract extension marks a new beginning and he's eager to see how far he can soar.

"I've barely scratched the surface of what I could really be," Washington said. "I just look forward to the opportunity to be able to do that here. I'm just blessed."

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