NFL: Former BYU Cougars receiver Dax Milne displays on rookie season

Editor’s notice: Second in an occasional collection wanting on the rookie seasons of the 5 BYU gamers chosen within the 2021 NFL draft.

Throughout his first few months as a rookie with the NFL’s Washington Soccer Group, former BYU receiver Dax Milnewould pull into the car parking zone of the membership’s coaching facility in Ashburn, Virginia, driving a beat-up previous Mitsubishi Outlander a good friend within the space had loaned him.

A window was busted, and components of the automobile had been held collectively by duct tape.

“I might pull into the ability and park subsequent to a McClaren or an Aston-Martin, and I’m over right here driving this factor. That was kinda humorous,” stated Milne, who walked on at BYUearned a scholarship just a few weeks into his freshman season and have become so profitable in Provo that he left a 12 months early and was picked within the seventh spherical of the 2021 draft.

That present of humility, and his efficiency in a expertise present for rookies in entrance of your complete workforce, earned the former Bingham Excessive star some credibility and respect from his teammates that helped him get via his first 12 months within the NFL.

“I made a decision to point out everybody that the white boy from BYU can dance. So I obtained up there and danced just a little bit and had some enjoyable, and everybody liked it.” — Washington Commanders rookie Dax Milne, the previous BYU receiver, on his NFL initiation

“A pair guys laughed once they noticed (the automobile), however then a few them got here up and stated they revered it as a result of I wasn’t fazed and was driving what I had round.”

Milne finally earned $737,268 in his first 12 months, in accordance with spotrac.comand purchased himself a 2019 Volkswagen Arteon after receiving a pair paychecks, a step up from that Outlander and the 2005 Mazda 6 he drove at BYU.

“That is my first time truly having an honest automobile,” he stated final week from a lodge room within the DC space. “I had by no means heard of the (Arteon) earlier than, however once I was at some dealerships right here in Virginia, it simply caught my eye, and I stated, ‘You recognize what, let’s do it.’”

Having returned to the realm on April 18 to start preparing for the 2022 season, Milne stated he’ll take part in ongoing organized workforce actions (OTAs) till June 16, then return to Utah for a break till mid-July, when every thing ramps up with coaching camps all through the league.

When he was in Utah after the season, he skilled with Dave Stroshine at Stroformance in Nice Grove and says that helped him get quicker and stronger.

Milne can thank rookie initiations which might be frequent place within the NFL for one more second that gained him some respect. Each rookie at Washington’s coaching camp final summer season needed to carry out at a expertise present, and most of them sang songs.

“However I made a decision to point out everybody that the white boy from BYU can dance,” Milne stated. “So I obtained up there and danced just a little bit and had some enjoyable, and everybody liked it.”

Milne stated he additionally needed to pay for and convey snacks to workforce conferences and carry his teammates’ baggage, amongst different issues.

Summing up his whole first-year expertise within the league, Milne stated there have been the standard ups and downs rookies undergo, but in addition some satisfying and confidence-building moments as nicely. He began in a single recreation, appeared in 13, and had 9 receptions for 83 yards, with an extended of twenty-two.

“I’ll say this: It’s not what you count on once you first come into it. However now after being proper in the midst of all of it for a 12 months, I am grateful and desperate to (stick within the league),” he stated. “It’s a variety of onerous work and there are a variety of expectations from everybody round you — coaches, pals, household, your self.

“There’s a variety of strain to be your finest self every single day you come into work,” he continued. “That is what motivates you, understanding you have not ever actually made it.”

Leaving early with no regrets

Milne caught 70 passes for 1,188 yards and eight touchdowns from childhood good friend Zach Wilson his junior season at BYU and was a finalist for the Burlsworth Trophy, which works to probably the most excellent faculty soccer participant who started his profession as a walk-on.

Shortly after the 2020 season with the Cougars going 11-1, Milne determined to “strike when the iron was scorching” and declared for the NFL draft, together with Wilson, the eventual no. 2 total choose by the New York Jets.

“I’ve zero regrets with what I did,” he stated. “I’m glad and blessed that every thing has labored out the way in which it has. After all, it could have been enjoyable to play one other 12 months and have all of it occur the identical manner, however you’ll be able to’t (financial institution) on that. That is wishful pondering. I do know I made the appropriate alternative, leaving as a junior.”

Milne stated he had an interview with Washington’s receivers coach earlier than the draft, however the Commanders (as they’re named now) didn’t appear closely .

“I used to be stunned it was them that pulled the set off on me, however I’m for certain joyful they did,” he stated.

Because the draft was winding down, Milne admits to being “anxious and kinda embarrassed” as a result of his title hadn’t been referred to as and he had invited a variety of family and friends to his dad and mom’ dwelling in South Jordan to observe rounds 4-7.

“When it lastly did occur, it was wonderful to obtain that cellphone name, lastly, and simply a lot reduction came visiting me and I used to be in a position to have fun with the folks I really like,” he stated. “That was really particular.”

Earlier than Washington took him with the second-to-last choose in your complete draft, Milne stated he was about to make a free-agent cope with the Denver Broncos.

“All of it labored out for the most effective,” he stated.

Persistence, exact routes are virtues

Milne signed a four-year rookie contract on Could 13, 2021, however clearly nonetheless needed to make the 53-man roster to earn the large cash. He stated he’ll always remember the day he realized he had made the workforce. The day that last cuts had been being made, he anticipated a cellphone name telling him by some means, however nothing got here so he attended the scheduled assembly on the follow facility.

Within the assembly head coach Ron Rivera obtained up and stated, “Nicely, that is it boys, that is our 53. That is what we’re going to begin with,'” Milne stated.

A lot of the gamers within the room had been veterans and knew that they had made the workforce.

“However for me, I used to be attempting to maintain it cool, maintain calm,” Milne stated. “I wished to face up and scream, however I could not. … Afterwards, I texted some family and friends to say, ‘Hey, I made the 53.’ So it was fairly the day for me.”

Milne acknowledges that the primary weeks of coaching camp, he wasn’t certain that he belonged. However after the primary few video games, he realized he had the instruments, work ethic and perspective wanted to outlive within the NFL.

“I spotted I can play with these dudes, and I can carry out,” he stated. “As soon as my mindset modified, I simply had much more confidence.”

Because the season wore on and he did not get a variety of alternatives, he was assured by Rivera and receivers coach Drew Terrell that he would finally get an opportunity to point out what he might do, and to stay affected person.

“They stated I’ve a vivid future,” he stated. “I wholeheartedly imagine I can have a serious position (in 2022) and do nicely with it.”

Extra rookie recollections

Milne not too long ago spent 20 minutes speaking with the Deseret Information from his lodge room in suburban Washington,nfl DC recounting the highs and lows from his rookie season within the NFL and his expectations for the long run. Listed here are a few of his feedback:

On what his “welcome to the NFL” second was:

“I might title a pair. I might say the primary is coming in to the ability the primary time and simply being round these well-known names like Chase Younger and Terry McLaurin, these superstars on my workforce. After which the primary time I walked out into our stadium at FedEx Subject and seeing all of the followers going loopy, and yelling my title despite the fact that I used to be in my first 12 months. That was one thing.

“One other time was seeing Tom Brady. That’s all the time one thing particular. My favourite recreation was enjoying at Inexperienced Bay, at Lambeau Subject, and their followers had been going nuts the entire recreation. That was positively a second once I went, ‘Wow, I’m actually within the NFL proper now.’”

On what teammates ask him about enjoying at BYU:

“It is positively an attention-grabbing factor, popping out right here and seeing how guys view BYU, and (the state of Utah) generally. Folks ask me if I’ve a number of mothers, or a number of wives. That kind of factor. So far as soccer at BYU, despite the fact that we had been prime 25 the previous few years, I nonetheless get the vibe that almost all of those guys do not respect the BYU title. I come from BYU, so I get just a little annoyed with that.”

On Washington drafting Penn State receiver Jahan Dotson within the first spherical:

“It’s simply a type of conditions the place it’s a must to inform your self you do not know what the higher-ups are pondering, or how they see issues. You simply gotta management what you’ll be able to management, and that’s coming in every single day and focusing in your course of and never evaluating or specializing in what guys subsequent to you’re doing.

“However total I feel he can be a very good addition to the room and I do know the coaches will attempt to verify to get us all in the appropriate conditions in order that our abilities will shine and we are able to present what we carry to the desk.”

On whether or not he is acknowledged in Utah and/or Virginia as an NFL receiver:

“When I’m in Utah, there are a very good quantity of instances the place I’ll go someplace and somebody will acknowledge me. After which there are different instances once I can inform persons are me, however are too hesitant or shy to say one thing. I all the time assume that’s humorous as a result of I really feel like I’m a pleasant, approachable man. However out right here in Virginia, it does not occur as a lot. I assume that point will come.”

On his residing preparations through the season:

“Final season, I had an condo simply 5 minutes away from the (coaching) facility. It’s about 45 minutes away from (Washington, DC) and our stadium. … I simply reside on my own, doing the only life factor.”

On how his mom, Jill, is doing after being identified as cancer-free two years in the past this month:

“I’m joyful to say that she is doing nice nowadays. She has been wholesome for a very good period of time. I’m simply hoping it continues to be that manner.”

On whether or not he retains in contact with fellow 2021 NFL draft choose Zach Wilson:

“Right here and there. Not an excessive amount of. We’re each busy with our careers. However yeah, we (talk) now and again.”

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Washington Soccer Group vast receiver Dax Milne runs in opposition to the New York Giants throughout recreation, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022, in East Rutherford, NJ

Adam Starvation, Related Press

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