Rivera's culture, Turner's offense sold Leno Jr. on Washington originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
As offensive lineman Charles Leno Jr. visited with the Washington Football Team after being released by the Chicago Bears, there was an instant sense of comfort.
He spoke with numerous members of the front office and coaching staff and all were gracious and made him feel welcomed. There was one conversation, though, that showed Leno he was in the right place.
Sitting down with head coach Ron Rivera, Leno got a feel for who Rivera is as a leader. Speaking on more than just football it was exactly what Leno was looking for, making the decision to sign with the team an easy one.
“Coach Ron Rivera, he is a different man," Leno said on 106.7 The Fan's Grant & Danny. "He doesn’t only talk about football. He’s deeper than that.”
“He’s a man that actually understands life, and just talking about life just really made me understand, ‘you know what this is exactly the place I want to go,'" Leno said. “Cause at the end of the day, yes, we are playing football but he’s more of a life coach.”
The product on the field was important for Leno, but he also wanted to make sure that he was joining the right culture. That's something Rivera has worked hard to instill since taking over the job last offseason.
Leno noticed that from an outside perspective, and once he was able to hear from Rivera himself, it was an easy decision to come in and play for him.
“He’s a real human being and I really enjoyed that about talking to him," Leno said. "That was the number one thing that sold me on Washington, coming there.”
“Just mad respect for the man. I see the things he’d 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," Leno said.
The culture was key, but Washington's offensive style was an added benefit for the veteran tackle. He noted that offensive coordinator Scott Turner runs a multiple scheme on offense, meaning he takes from various other styles and meshes it together.
It's similar to what Leno worked with during his seven years in Chicago, and something that he believes suits his style of play.
“Being multiple, you can adapt. You can do kind of anything the defense presents to you," Leno said. "You come out in the first half, you have this one game plan. If they adjust to that then you can adjust at any time being a multiple offense. So, that’s what really drew me to this offense.”
His release from the Bears came as a surprise, but Leno believes it's all just part of the journey. That bump in the road brought him to Washington, where he feels he found exactly what he wanted.
“This is something that I felt like fits me and where I’m at in my journey right now," Leno said.