Chris Baker’s football journey got started later than most and his rise to becoming a star defensive lineman for the Redskins did not come without bumps in the road. A basketball player for most of his life, Baker suited up on the gridiron for the first time as a junior for his high school football team in Connecticut, the Windsor Warriors. His tall, athletic frame gave him opportunities to make plays on both sides of the ball. Baker quickly found his calling as a defensive lineman and continued to develop his skill set and build his body to withstand the demands of football on the frontline.
Baker’s domination at the position led to scholarship offers from several schools, including Penn State where he played for two seasons. It was at PSU that he became known for his versatility on the defensive line, playing nose tackle in a 3-4 scheme and defensive end in a 4-3. He later transferred to Hampton University in Virginia where he earned first-team All-MEAC honors with 62 tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks.
Baker signed with the Denver Broncos following the 2009 NFL Draft. He later played for the Hartford Colonials of the UFL and with the Miami Dolphins before signing with the Washington Redskins in 2011. He was a member of the practice squad during most of his first season in D.C. prior to being promoted to the active roster that December. Baker earned a spot in the defensive line rotation the following season in 2012 and has been a mainstay ever since. He signed a 3 year, $12 million deal in 2014 to remain with the Redskins.
To teammates and fans, Baker is known as “Swaggy,” a nickname given to him by a childhood friend to describe his personality and playful persona. “Football is fun for me. I don’t want to be out there all tight. By me dancing and having fun, it’s just the way of expressing how much fun I am having out there.”
Baker is an active member of the community in the D.C. area and around his hometown of Windsor, CT. In D.C., he has worked with local organizations including the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington and the American Heart Association. In the fall of 2013, Baker partnered with jewelry designer David Yurman to host an event at their boutique in Tysons Galleria. The event raised over $6,000 for “Life Pieces to Masterpieces,” a non-profit, arts-based, comprehensive youth development organization that helps underprivileged and at-risk youth in Washington, D.C.
In 2014, Baker officially launched “The Chris Baker 92 Foundation,” a 501(c)(3) established to provide literacy training and other educational programs to children in the greater Hartford area as well in the DMV. “I wanted to establish something to address a pressing need – something that would really benefit kids for the long-term and have a major impact on their lives. My goal is to give back to my home communities even after my playing career is far behind me.”
Be sure to click on the “Foundation” tab above for more information on the Chris Baker Foundation.