- The Washington Times
Thursday, March 24, 2022

J.D. McKissic’s future changed in such a dramatic way over such a short period of time that the veteran running back insists he has trouble keeping track of all the details. Just last week, McKissic thought he was going to join the Buffalo Bills — so much so he verbally agreed to a two-year, $7 million contract. Then, Washington stepped in with the same offer after the Bills deal was all but done. 

Along the way, McKissic changed his mind: He wanted to stay in Washington.

“It’s been so crazy,” McKissic said. 

Mckissic may have trouble sorting through all the timeline of when and how things went down,  but he was clear in why he passed up a chance to go to a Super Bowl contender and re-sign with the Commanders instead. 

McKissic said he holds a lot of respect for the Bills — “You can’t ask for a better organization to be chosen by,” he said — but added he has “unfinished business” with the Commanders.

“The way we left off, I felt like we were inclining,” McKissic said. “With my injury, I had things I wanted to prove in Washington. Washington is home.”

McKissic’s season ended when he suffered a neck injury in late November. The injury cost him the team’s last six games — a span in which Washington went 2-4 to close the year. Before he got hurt, McKissic was one of Washington’s top playmakers and the team struggled to fill his shoes.

That’s why McKissic said he wasn’t really torn once Washington became an option. He said that even though the Bills are doing some “great things,” Washington can accomplish as much on its trajectory. He based his decision on where he wanted to be, he said. 

The last-minute change of heart didn’t sit well with Buffalo.

Bills general manager Brandon Beane still seemed frustrated over the reversal when he met with reporters last week. Beane specifically took issue with Washington rather than McKissic’s agents.

“Once you have an agreement, the agent’s supposed to say it’s over, “ Beane said. “And this agent did that. And this agent told the other club it’s over. But the other club didn’t back off.”

Beane added the situation complicated his relationship with the Commanders. Beane worked with coach Ron Rivera and many other now-Washington employees in Carolina. Beane called Washington’s actions “painful.”

“They chose to do what they did and I couldn’t stop it,” he said. 

Before McKissic initially agreed to join Buffalo, Washington had not made McKissic an offer. The Commanders’ brass reportedly believed they would have to match any offer once it was made. Rivera didn’t expand much when asked last week about McKissic, deferring to the running back. 

McKissic said he was “a bit” surprised Washington didn’t make an offer. Asked if the Commanders were possibly worried about McKissic’s neck, the running back acknowledged that it likely played a factor. McKissic called the injury “scary,” though said he’s ready to take the field again. 

“I just sat back and I was patient,” McKissic said. “I was willing to do whatever it took to take care of my family.” 

• Matthew Paras can be reached at mparas@washingtontimes.com.

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