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Former Stanford RB Bryce Love released by the Washington Football Team

Washington Football Report

Bryce Love tore his ACL in the final game of his college career. Despite the injury, which was expected to cost the running back his entire rookie year in the NFL, Wasington's front office took a chance by drafting him in the 4th round. He showed up to training camp a year ago, but the knee was not healing well; it reportedly would swell up regularly after practice. The team placed him on IR in hopes that some rest would allow him to come back at some point during the 2020 season.


At one point last year, Love was designated to return from injured reserve, but he never got healthy enough to be activated. The 2020 season ended with the young running back never having taken a snap for Washington.

There were muted hopes that the story might be diffferent in 2021 -- that perhaps another year of rest and rehabilitation would have allowed Love's knee to have finally healed -- and that he might contribute to the Washington offense as an all-purpose backup to Antonio Gibson, capable of playing three downs.

As a junior in 2017, playing the Pac-12, Bryce Love was one of the most dynamic running backs in the country, rushing for 2,118 yards at an average of 8.1 yards per carry. Many people expected him to declare for the 2018 NFL draft, but Love decided to return for his senior year at Stanford. That decision probably cost him what might well have been a successful NFL career. It seems unlikely that any other NFL team will now claim the 23 year old on waivers. His NFL career appears to be over without ever having really begun.

Love has strong career prospects outside of football, however. He was a talented student who had always planned to be a pediatrician once his football career was over. He has been studying medicine, and will now simply move towards his medical life a bit sooner than he would have if the knee hadn't cut short his sporting career.

The loss of Bryce Love does leave Washington's running back room a bit thin. The team has all three key players from 2020 back with Antonio Gibson returning for his second season after being drafted in the 3rd round out of Memphis. Short yardage specialist Peyton Barber and 3rd down back JD McKissic, both signed as veteran free agents a year ago, will also be in training camp this year

But Bryce Love is the third running back to be released by Washington in the past few weeks. Ealier, the team had announced the release of Javon Leake and Micheal Warren at the same time that they cut TE Thaddeus Moss and DL Caleb Brantley.

At this point, the team has five running backs under contract -- Gibson, Barber and McKissic, along with veteran Lamar Miller, who was signed late last seaon, but who did not play a snap in 2020, and Jonathan Williams, a 2016 5th round pick of the Buffalo Bills who has spent most of his 5-year career on NFL practice squads with six different teams.

It seems increasingly likely that Washington may use one of its 8 draft picks to bring in a young running back to help fill out the depth chart. The NFL draft kicks off on Thursday, April 29th.

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