COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Saying J.D. McKissic made a big splash on his first professional play is to understate things.
The former Central Red Devil signed with the Atlanta Falcons as an undrafted free agent in 2016, and his first touch in the Birds’ preseason opener was a beauty, taking the second half opening kickoff 101 yards to the house, which put him on the NFL’s radar screen.
McKissic wound up in Seattle that year, the first of three seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, who moved him from wide receiver to running back. 2019 was spent with the Detroit Lions, where he turned into a threat both in the backfield and as a slot receiver.
Now he’s ready for a new situation, signing a two-year deal with the Washington Redskins. McKissic knows he has his work cut out for him.
“There's multiple guys that can do what I do,” McKissic said. “It's a real big group and a lot of talented guys – Adrian Peterson, a couple more great athletes in there – but the main thing for me is just to be focused and to be able to execute the plan, what they've got for me, and try to do it at my best ability.”
Being with a new organization is always about adapting to new ways, but this time around, it’s even more challenging with the COVID-19 shutdown of NFL training facilites.
McKissic is working with former West Virginia Mountaineers strength coach Chasen Perry at Impact Performance in Columbus to get ready.
“To not be able to be there right now and show what I can do is tough,” said McKissic, “but Chason’s been putting workouts together for me. We’ve been doing skill work, we’ve been lifting, getting stronger, still trying to get faster. But I’m thinking I’m not missing a beat right now. I’m doing pretty well.”
The Redskins are have a brand new coaching staff, and it gives McKissic a whole new playbook to learn. That’s a challenge, but he’s has seen it all before, and thrived. He knows exactly what he has to do to earn a spot on the team and to become a key performer with the 'Skins.
“It’s hard work and dedication, executing at the highest ability, building that trust with the coaches, showing them I’m capable of doing this, playing special teams – it always starts on special teams first – that’s what it’s going to take -- just getting the job done. As simple as that may sound, I’m just going to have to do my job, show them day-in and day-out that I’m capable. I’ve got to compete like everyone else. I’ve just got to be ready for the storm.”