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Lavar Arrington Not the problem


lemmiwinks
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LaVar Arrington had been the face of the Washington Redskins and the most popular sports figure in the nation's capital. The outside linebacker loved the community and organized countless charity events. Yet, at 27, Arrington forfeited $4.4 million for the opportunity to leave.

 

Arrington's decision had salary-cap ramifications beneficial to both sides. However, the denouement to this two-year soap opera was personal as much as business.

 

Arrington's days were numbered once he accused owner Daniel Snyder of cheating him in an eight-year, $68 million extension signed in December 2003. Arrington contended that the club purposely removed an agreed-upon $6.5 million in guarantees from a final draft he signed at Redskins Park under deadline pressure. Arrington filed a grievance against the Redskins in March 2004 and a resolution came after several postponed arbitration hearings.

 

Although Arrington had patched up some aspects of his relationship with the organization, too many wounds remained. The acrimony had been so deep that the club stopped featuring its former marquee attraction in its marketing campaigns. Then the defensive staff that came in 2004 bristled at his star power while emphasizing a no-name unit.

 

"It wasn't just X's and O's last season," one of the Redskins's top players told me this week. "A lot of it was personal. I don't know exactly where it was coming from, but it was bigger than any of us."

 

Arrington suffered a bone bruise in 2004 -- coach Joe Gibbs' first season back -- and missed 12 games. The linebacker's future became tenuous when the defense ranked third overall without him. After two surgeries, Arrington clashed with the organization over his contract and injuries. Despite regaining his health last season, Arrington played mostly spot duty, culminating a stunning fall from grace.

 

The recurring explanation was that Arrington was too undisciplined. It's a reputation that existed in 2002, when Marvin Lewis was Washington's defensive coordinator. Still, Arrington had made the Pro Bowl from 2001 to 2003. And he has withstood five head coaches -- and five defensive coordinators -- in six NFL seasons.

 

As a 6-foot-3, 255-pound outside linebacker with uber-athleticism and passion, Arrington will have several suitors -- perhaps including Washington's rivals, the Cowboys, Eagles and Giants.

 

Besides his football talent, Arrington is one of the most thoughtful, engaging and bright athletes I've covered in 10 years. He has the ideal personality to be a franchise player. However, I knew that there were irreconcilable differences after a contract settlement was reached last August. Shortly after my Washington Post story was posted on the newspaper's Web site, I received an unsolicited email from a high-ranking Redskins official, who declared that Arrington would never see an "extra penny" from the settlement.

 

 

Under the agreement, if Arrington made the Pro Bowl in two of the next four years, he could become a free agent unless Washington paid $3.25 million -- half the disputed money. So at the very least, this official seemed to indicate the team would let Arrington depart, regardless of whether he flourished. At the most, something beyond X's was occurring at Redskins Park. Why would someone close to Snyder not want his star player to succeed? And how brash -- or reckless -- was it to e-mail a reporter, even if there was an understanding that the sender wouldn't be quoted?

 

So when Arrington went from being Mr. Redskin to Mr. Irrelevant last season, the e-mail stuck in my mind.

 

 

 

It was only last March that Snyder threatened to give star receiver Laveranues Coles a flat-screen TV to watch games at home if he nixed a Jets trade. ("'We'll bench you for two years, then we'll cut you,'" Coles said Snyder told him. "'If you come back, we'll torture you.'")I'm not saying that such sinister instructions came from up top regarding Arrington. But you don't have to be Oliver Stone to realize that the fallout played a part in the humiliating treatment of the once-favored star.

 

Things changed dramatically after Arrington -- the second overall pick in 2000 -- was no longer Snyder's favorite player. They used to play chess on the team plane during flights to road games. Snyder and Arrington had lengthy phone discussions on wide-ranging subjects, including personnel moves. But last season, a few teammates told me that the club was trying to break Arrington's spirit and shake his confidence.

 

How else do you explain the linebacker being benched on third-and-long situations, when only reckless abandon -- something he didn't lack -- is required

 

Gregg Williams is a defensive mastermind who requires players adhere to a regimented system. He deserves to be a head coach again. But Arrington's weaknesses were exaggerated as the Redskins seemed to take pride in showing he was replaceable. Safety Sean Taylor also blew assignments, yet the talented safety was coddled. Of course, Arrington's saga was complicated by personalities: Linebackers coach Dale Lindsey, a curmudgeon with an expletive-filled vocabulary, never meshed with his sensitive star. (When Lindsey was on Norv Turner's staff in 1997, he lambasted a rookie linebacker so much that the player cried.)

 

Arrington wasn't blameless in the turn of events. After Williams joined Washington in 2004, Arrington and Taylor were the only two players who skipped voluntary workouts, instantly creating tension. And Arrington displayed curious timing by blasting the organization when he felt neglected. (According to one team official, one part of Washington's settlement proposal included a stipulation barring Arrington from publicly criticizing the team.)

 

I realized how much Arrington loved being a Redskin after I visited him at his home in Fairfax, Va., in 2004 for his first public comments on the dispute. Arrington was in the middle of moving to Annapolis, Md., and the last room to be emptied was decorated with Redskins memorabilia.

 

I thought it was a tad creepy that a few fans would mill outside his front lawn at night to catch a glimpse of their favorite player, but he didn't mind.

 

The Redskins actually preferred that their erstwhile star restructure his contract to remain with the club, saving an extra four million or so under the cap. But Arrington would have had to remain in Washington another two years, delaying the inevitable ending of a drama in which personal matters too often mixed with business.

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Guest Carbo

Oh, please! The Giants already have cancer in the persons of TO Lite and TO White. The last thing they need is another deadly tumor in the form of Lavar Arrington.

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Oh, please! The Giants already have cancer in the persons of TO Lite and TO White. The last thing they need is another deadly tumor in the form of Lavar Arrington.

 

Couldn't agree more! We need to find a way to get rid of Plexiglass and Stockey before even thinking about bringing a player with an IQ of -56.

Edited by Valuta Italiana
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It was only last March that Snyder threatened to give star receiver Laveranues Coles a flat-screen TV to watch games at home if he nixed a Jets trade. ("'We'll bench you for two years, then we'll cut you,'" Coles said Snyder told him. "'If you come back, we'll torture you.'")

 

 

lol

 

If Lavar is actually looking for a double digit bonus we wont even waste the time. I dont even know if any team for that matter would want him for that much. These players are thinking cause a new deal got done they can jack their price tags up. Fuck that, give me Sims.

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Guest Lockhart

Arrington was the highest paid linebacker in th eNFL and NEVER played like it. He is dumb, usually out of position, and rarely practices due to "inuries". He is considered a bust in DC. He would make a great play, then screw up for more thana quarter. He can't cover anyone in a pass routem and is a liability against fast teams. He hurt his leg late in 2003 and has never fully recovered. All in all, he was a waste of a 2nd pick in the draft for the Giants and reamains an expensive mistake for the Redskins. If he were to be a Gian, the Redskins would run every play at him, as they know he is incapable of remembering his assignments or doing his job.

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Guest nosebleed

Somebody would have to pull Ernie's rug over his eyes in order to make this signing happen. Arrington is a big name, nothing more. Probably get the same result from Torbor if he started the full 16.

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Arrington's a good linebacker and is a great athlete but he's not a complete player. I think if someone pays him the kind of money he'll want they won't be getting their money's worth.

 

For his price tag he'd need to be an elite linebacker not just a one trick pony.

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Somebody would have to pull Ernie's rug over his eyes in order to make this signing happen. Arrington is a big name, nothing more. Probably get the same result from Torbor if he started the full 16.

 

Why would some one have to pull he rug over his eyes, according to you he is and idiot?

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Arrington would be a fine choice to play in NY.

 

First off, the injury he had is one that takes 2 years to heal. IE, right now, for everyone that can't do math.

 

Next, he gave up the 4.4 mil to get out of the drama that piece of shit Snyder was throwing at him in barrels. Sure, he won't come cheap, but I doubt he'll be looking for a double digit signing bonus. Whoever said that needs to get a reality check.

 

Last, he has a good friend in the giants, Antonio Pierce, who I sure hope is going to rally to bring Arrington into blue.

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