Speaking with head coach Ron Rivera was the "number one thing" that sold left tackle Charles Leno Jr. on signing with the Washington Football Team.
"The one person there that really made me feel welcome — I mean, clearly everybody in that organization's great — but Coach Ron. Coach Ron Rivera. He's a different man," Leno, who signed a one-year, $5 million contract with Washington on Wednesday, told 106.7 The Fan's Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier.
"He doesn't only talk about football. He's deeper than that," Leno said. "He's a man that actually understands life. Just talking to him about life really just made me understand, like, you know what, this is exactly the place I want to go."
"Because at the end of the day, yes, we are playing football, but he's more of a life coach," he continued. "He's a coach that's going to just talk to you like you are a human being, and not look past you and not just brush you off or whatever. He's a real human being and I really enjoyed that about that talking to him.
"That was the number one thing that sold me on Washington, coming here. Just mad respect for the man. And I've seen things that he's done for the team over the last year and I can't wait to be a part of what we're going to do in the future."
Released by the Chicago Bears last week after they drafted Oklahoma State tackle Teven Jenkins in the second round, Leno has been something of an overachiever in the NFL.
A seventh-round pick out of Boise State in 2014, Leno became the Bears' starting left tackle in only his second NFL season. And durable, too, starting 93 consecutive games since taking over as the blindside starter in Chicago in Week 4 of the 2015 season. He now offers Washington depth it's rarely seen along the offensive line.
Leno credits former teammate Jermon Bushrod, with whom he shared his first two NFL seasons in Chicago, for teaching him how to take care of his body and withstand the rigors of the NFL.
"It all started when I was younger," he said. "I was a rookie coming in. I had a veteran in Jermon Bushrod. He actually just texted me earlier today and I'll have to tell him again, because I always tell him every time I talk to him. I just tell him thank you for his wisdom, being a great vet for me and telling me exactly what to do."
"I just listened," he said. "I mean that's one thing I think a lot of people, especially young coming into the league, that they have to do; they have to find a vet and just listen to them, because they've been through it all and they've seen it all. And he told me one thing that always stuck with me, was take care of my body."
"And that doesn't just entail working out and stuff like that," he continued. "That talks about how you treat your body, what you put into your body, how are you taking care of it after practice, before practice and all of that. I just took that advice and ran with it, made sure I had some people on the Bears' staff that was there that helped me out in the weight room, nutrition, and I had to find some people outside of work, because you're not always gonna be there.
"That's something I always stuck with, and a little bit of luck as well. I mean one person falls on me another way, it could have did something different. But at the end of the day, I definitely just took care of my body by doing the right things over and over a