Terry McLaurin met the media Wednesday for the first time since signing a lucrative three-year extension with the Washington Commanders, a resolution that was inevitable in hindsight but in the moment didn't feel like a sure thing to those outside the building.
McLaurin, however, had faith -- and took it all the way to the bank.
"I felt confident honestly," McLaurin divulged. "From talking to my agent, Buddy (Baker), to the conversations I've had with coach (Ron) Rivera, it was very evident that they wanted me to be here, and I wanted to be here."
Rivera told reporters that extending McLaurin was a "priority" for Washington.
"With Terry, I think one of the things that we were able to do was take care of one of our captains," Rivera explained, "take care of one of the guys that means an awful lot for one side of the football and for the team as a whole."
The receiver added, "You never know until you know, but I always had a feeling this would get done."
McLaurin was away from the team for the entirety of offseason workouts, including mandatory minicamp, as the fourth-year receiver angled for a new -- and well-deserved -- deal. The Commanders star said he was working out in Florida while his teammates practiced in Ashburn, Virginia, and expressed discomfort with being away from the club, including his new quarterback, Carson Wentz.
"It was weird. I don't miss practice, even when I've been banged up at times," McLaurin said. "I know how important those reps are. I know how important that chemistry is to be built, especially during this time, not just on the field, not just the chemistry but camaraderie in the locker room. That was really hard for me. But you understand the business and what has to be done."
It'll be a quick turnaround for McLaurin after Wednesday's presser, as the receiver said he was hopping right on a plane to California to work out with Wentz, his ninth QB in four seasons in D.C., and get those reps in that were lacking in June.
"My main priority and mindset with each quarterback is to put my best foot forward and make them look good in any way, shape or form I can," McLaurin said. "I've never really tried to focus on how many I've had and although you want to try to get a connection with a guy and have some longevity, I've had fun and I've learned from all the quarterbacks I've had up until this point.
"One thing that's stuck out about Carson is just he's a very personable guy. He's somebody that we've connected with on a very personable level since he's gotten here. Even throughout the process, he was reaching out to me, checking in on me. I was asking how practice was going and things like that. That's why I can't wait to get out there and start throwing with him because now we get to put the football together, we get to start to form that connection on the field."
A freshly minted man, McLaurin will be counted on a lot this season as Washington embraces yet another starting quarterback and welcomes fresh faces to the fold at the skill positions. Rookie receiver Jahan Dotson will pair with pass catchers McLaurin, Curtis Samuel and Logan Thomas, while fellow first-year Brian Robinson will join Antonio Gibson, J.D. McKissic and Jaret Patterson in a crowded backfield.
McLaurin has been one of the few bright spots for the middling Washington franchise over his first three seasons, averaging over 1,000 yards per campaign, scoring 16 total touchdowns and leading the team in receptions and yards each year.
Asked what his goals are for the 2022 season now that his future for the next four campaigns is secured, McLaurin was team-focused.
"I want to get to the playoffs and have a chance to win the Super Bowl," the wideout said. "Personally, I want to continue to try to be one of the top receivers in this league. I don't really go into the season thinking, oh, I need 1,500 yards, this, this and this.
"I think truly you have the most success individually when you have the most success as a team."