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Is the bell finally tolling for Temarrick Hemingway?

Washington Football Team v Detroit Lions Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

At the press conference after today’s rookie minicamp, Ron Rivera was asked a variety of questions. One particular question that was asked, and that he responded to, and which hasn’t received much coverage was:

Ron, you’ve talked a lot about competition in training camp and offseason workouts as well as having so much more depth. Which group stands out to you as one where you guys really made an effort to address, if you feel you were able to do that, and one you are looking forward to watching once everybody gets out here.

Rivera’s response was thorough and illuminating:

I’m looking forward to watching the whole group of wide receivers. I think that group, we did some things, with regards to increasing team speed. We wanted to get a complement to Terry, and we went out and got a few complements to Terry. So, I think that group can be very dynamic for us. I’m very excited about that.

I’m excited about the young tight ends we have, and watching their progression. We feel really good about John [Bates] and Sammis [Reyes]. But, we also have Temarrick Hemingway, a young man that we’ve had with us in the past. Unfortunately, he broke his hand last year, but he was making some good strides. So we feel good about those types of positions.

I’m excited to see the strides that our defensive line has made. That’s the other group that you’re pretty excited about. And the linebackers. There’s a lot to be excited about in terms of hoping we grew in order to get better as a football team.

On the WRs, my assumption is that the additions he’s referring to are Curtis Samuel, Dyami Brown, Adam Humphries, and Dax Milne, and given Rivera’s response to that part of the question, it felt like he might have even surprised himself at just how many “complements to Terry” he was able to bring in this offseason. Clearly, however, he realizes - like most fans do - that the battles for WRs 4-6 are going to be among the most competitive and interesting on the team.

What I really want to highlight in this piece though, is the second position group Rivera discusses. He doesn’t even mention TE1 Logan Thomas - I’m assuming - because he’s something of a known quantity now, and, at right around 30, he no longer qualifies as a “young tight end.” But he jumps right into praising 4th round pick, John Bates, and undrafted rookie, Sammis Reyes. Apparently, Rivera and tight end coach Pete Hoener “feel really good about them.” That’s both encouraging, and also not entirely unexpected, though Reyes still appears extremely raw, based on what was reported from mini-camp this weekend.

It’s the following statement (and shally’s wondering aloud about it) that inspired this piece:

But, we also have Temarrick Hemingway, a young man that we’ve had with us in the past. Unfortunately, he broke his hand last year, but he was making some good strides.

In a tight end room that now includes Thomas, Bates, Reyes, Deon Yelder, Tyrone Swoopes, Dylan Cantrell, and Hemingway, it’s been difficult to get insights into the exact ranking of the players until Rivera spoke today. Even with the clarification, many (most?) fans probably don’t know much about Hemingway. So who is he?

Hemingway was basically an oversized WR playing TE when he was taken by the Rams in the 6th round of the 2016 draft. His scouting report read:

An easy-moving athlete who dominated the competition at South Carolina State, Temarrick Hemingway has the size, length (34-inch arms) and hand size (10 inches) that every scout looks for. As a pass-catcher, he presents a big opportunity in the red zone and up the seam.

To play as a true tight end, Hemingway will have to put on bulk. He’s super thin and lanky and doesn’t get low in the power game, which kills his chance at holding up as a blocker on the edge. With below-average read-and-react skills as both a route-runner and blocker, Hemingway doesn’t project as a first-year impact player.

So, a solid pass catching tight end who needed some time to improve his blocking. Sounds familiar. An added plus for Hemingway, though, is that he definitely sounds like a Rivera guy:

Hemingway won the 2015 Walter Payton Achievement Award—an award given to a player who shows character and team spirit.

Unfortunately, for Hemingway, he broke his leg just before the 2017 season.

He was cut by the Rams just before the 2018 season, and spent most of that season on the Broncos practice squad, with some time on the active roster. Waived by the Broncos in early 2019, Hemingway was picked up by Rivera’s Panthers and spent most of the season on the practice squad. Asked about Hemingway at the time, Rivera responded:

“Young player, big, athletic, works hard, and has really learned to practice.”

Eventually, Rivera was fired, and Hemingway was released just before the 2020 season, and signed to Washington’s practice squad. He was elevated to the 53-man roster several times last season, where he collected 1 reception for 10 yards. His season was cut short by injury in December.

Now, it appears, fully healthy, and with several years of seasoning in the league, perhaps Hemingway is ready to seize his opportunity in the capital of the world.


Do you think Hemingway will make the 53-man roster to begin the 2021 season?

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