Commanders to decline fifth-year option on former defensive star

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The Washington Commanders have chosen to not exercise the fifth-year option for defensive lineman Chase Young, NFL Network and CBS Sports reported Wednesday.

The team declining the extension of Young’s contract means he will become a free agent after the 2023 season.

Young was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft. He was named to the Pro Bowl and awarded Defensive Rookie of the Year after starting in 15 games and recording 44 tackles and 7.5 sacks.

Since then, Young has only played in 12 games after suffering a knee injury midway through the 2021 season. He returned on Christmas Eve last year and recorded five tackles in three games.

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Young starred at Ohio State prior to being drafted by the Commanders. In three seasons with the Buckeyes, he recorded 69 tackles and 30.5 sacks. Among his accolades are winning the Bednarik Award and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, and he was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy after his junior season when he racked up 32 tackles and 16.5 sacks, including six forced fumbles.

Earlier this month, Young became the first American football player to sign with New Balance. He will help the athleticwear company design its first football cleat. The deal is in partnership with Rich Paul’s Klutch Athletics.

The Commanders are expected to be sold to an ownership group led by Josh Harris. They hold the No. 16 overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft, which kicks off Thursday in Kansas City.

This post appeared first on USA TODAY