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Former Gahr High Standout Dwayne Washington NFL’s Newest Million-Dollar Man

Gahr High’s Dwayne Washington after scoring a touchdown in New Orleans.



By Loren Kopff • @LorenKopff on Twitter

While the world is going through a global pandemic right now, there’s a very good reason why Dwayne Washington is all smiles. The former Gahr High wide receiver and University of Washington running back recently signed a free agent contract to remain with the New Orleans Saints.

Washington’s previous two-year contract expired immediately after the 2019 season had ended and two weeks after he was offered a new contract, he re-signed a one-year contract for $1.3 million to stay with New Orleans on April 9. Washington also had talks with a couple of organizations to see what the best offer was for he and his family. San Francisco and Tennessee were among the organizations he had spoken with and had made offers. But in the end, he knew the Crescent City was the right fit.

“It came down to a decision that was best for me and my family,” Washington said. “It’s always nice to be back with the same organization. That’s a great organization. It was the perfect choice to come back [to the Saints]; I thought it was the right situation and I feel that we’re on the verge of taking it all the way. I want to be a part of that, which is another reason why I made that decision to stay with the same team that I’ve been with for two years.”

Washington also said it was a perfect fit to stay in New Orleans because it is his comfort zone right now and that the Saints are a Super Bowl caliber team. He added that he would always keep in touch with his running backs coach during the offseason as well as his agent, Carter Chow.

Last season, Washington gained 60 yards on eight carries with a season-high three rushes against Arizona on Oct. 27 and again on Dec. 16 against Indianapolis. He also caught one pass for six yards, which came at Chicago on Oct. 20.  In his first season with the Saints, Washington gained 154 yards on 27 carries. Washington was drafted by Detroit in 2016 and in two seasons with the Lions, he played in 17 games, starting two of them, rushed for 309 yards on 110 carries and scored his lone touchdown against at Indianapolis on Sept. 11, 2016. Washington also caught 12 passes for 76 yards with Detroit. Following his second season in the NFL, the Lions released Washington and he signed a two-year contract with the Saints for $1.3 million.

“It’s just a new start somewhere else,” Washington thought about changing teams. “I always knew the door would be open somewhere else. I just give that to the man upstairs for always keeping me on my feet and having me stay positive through times like that. When they didn’t re-sign me, I knew there was another opportunity somewhere else.

“Every organization is just a little bit different,” Washington later added. “But I just felt like I stepped into a new organization that wanted to use me on special teams and as a third back. Every team is different…but it’s a business at the end of the day.”

And it’s a business that has given Washington a smile up to now because of the organization he is with. He comments on quarterback Drew Brees, whom he says is somebody you look up to on the football field and try to mimic his game a little bit.

“I think it just comes back to bringing more joy for the game,” Washington said. “You actually know that with the team you’re with, that you have a high chance of taking it all the way and become a Super Bowl champion. Just to be on this team…I feel a Super Bowl is bound to happen.”

With the NFL Draft on the horizon, this would be the time that teams would be going through organized training activities and mini camps. But the COVID-19 situation has curtailed those plans for now. The New Orleans Saints organization hasn’t said much to the players other than to take care of their families. Washington, who lives in Lake Elsinore, thinks all of this will come around as soon as the draft is over.

He has a little gym set up at his house, and while no target date has been set by the Saints as to when players can head back to the Big Easy, Washington is hopeful the season will start on time. Some of his workouts have been with Philadelphia Eagles tight end Josh Perkins, a former high school and college teammate

“For me, just through all of this, I’ve been staying at home,” Washington said. “I have two little kids of my own, so I don’t want them to get sick through all of this or just bring anything into my home. So, I’m just staying home and finding ways to work out.

“Josh has been one of my workout buddies,” Washington later said. “We’ve been seeing each other a lot nowadays, especially now that all this stuff has kind of brought us closer to find ways to working out. We went to middle school together. He’s one of my best friends. We’ve been kind of doing this football thing for a long time. We just find ways to motivate each other or push each other. Football has brought us close.”

Perkins was signed by the Atlanta Falcons as an undrafted free agent in 2016 and after one year there, the Eagles signed him before the 2018 season began