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Commanders’ Jayden Daniels’ ceremonial first pitch goes awry before Nationals game

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Washington Commanders rookie quarterback Jayden Daniels received the opportunity to throw out the first pitch at Nationals Park on Sunday and proved he’s more suited for the gridiron.

Daniels walked out to the mound before the Washington Nationals took on the Atlanta Braves.

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Jayden Daniels at Nats Park

Washington Commanders quarterback Jayden Daniels reacts after throwing out a ceremonial first pitch before the game between the Washington Nationals and the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park, Sunday, June 9, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The 6-foot-3 Heisman Trophy winner went into the wind up and bounced his pitch toward the right of the catcher. The ball nearly went into the hands of Commanders mascot Major Tuddy.

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Luckily, no one is expecting him to throw strikes on the diamond.

The Commanders selected Daniels with the No. 2 overall pick of the 2024 draft in April. He was a standout player at LSU, with 3,812 passing yards and 40 touchdown passes in his final season with the Tigers. It helped earn him high praise and one of the top picks in the draft.

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Jayden Daniels and Kliff Kingsbury

Offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury of the Washington Commanders instructs Jayden Daniels during rookie minicamp at OrthoVirginia Training Center on May 10, 2024, in Ashburn, Virginia. (Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

Daniels has gotten his feet wet at organized team activities (OTAs) in recent weeks. It’s just the start of a long journey as he gets ready to take the reins as the starting quarterback in 2024.

“As we’re getting started like it’s a big passing camp. So for the quarterbacks, they’re getting some really good looks,” Commanders head coach Dan Quinn said, via the team’s website. “You know, there’s a number of coverages now that have gone in, you know, from the first day of where it was maybe just three deep and man to man. 

“So, to see that type of progress from he and from the other quarterbacks, I think that’s good. In weeks ahead, we’ll add team things to it and blitzes and you know, a pocket and that kind of stuff, but I think what jumps not only off the tape here, what you guys don’t see in the meeting room is just the competitive nature and the learning and the command that he has already. That’s something that speaks to his work ethic.”

Jayden Daniels at mini camp

Jayden Daniels of the Washington Commanders at the OrthoVirgina Training Center on May 10, 2024, in Ashburn, Virgina. (Simon Bruty/Anychance/Getty Images)

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Washington was 4-13 last season.

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