Commanders DE Chase Young cleared to make season debut

ASHBURN, Va. -- Washington Commanders defensive end Chase Young will play Sunday after missing the season opener with a neck injury.

Young suffered a stinger in the Aug. 11 preseason opener at Cleveland and wasn't cleared for any level of contact until a week ago. But doctors wanted to see how he handled contact in practice before clearing him to play in a game.

After he was downgraded to out last week, multiple team sources said they were targeting a Week 3 return for Young, knowing there was at least a shot at Sunday.

"I'm blessed man, I'm ready to rock," Young said. "Obviously I want to play every game, but it's all good. My time will come. It's time. Now it's time to go play."

Washington coach Ron Rivera said Young will be on a snap count. However, Rivera did not say how many snaps that would be.

"Obviously we have to be smart because it's his first introduction to full-speed contact," Rivera said. "He had a very good week; the young man worked his tail off."

Young, the No. 2 pick in the 2020 draft, played only three games last season after returning from a torn ACL and ruptured patellar tendon in his right knee in 2021. He looked sharp early in training camp before his stinger, showing more burst off the line of scrimmage than he did at the end of last season.

"His explosiveness was back," Commanders defensive line coach Jeff Zgonina said. "He wasn't thinking about anything, he was just playing. He was the Chase of old."

He was the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year after recording 7.5 sacks, forcing four fumbles, recovering three and returning one for a touchdown. But he has played in just 12 games since that season with 1.5 sacks.

Young's contract expires after this season. Washington declined to pick up his fifth-year option in the offseason.

Washington's defensive line combined for 8 tackles for a loss, 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and 2 fumble recoveries in a 20-16 win over Arizona in Week 1.