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Mt. Arrington Erupts

Dec 29, 2005, 1:27 AM EST

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You can reach Rich Tandler by email at WarpathInsiders@comcast.net

Just when you thought it was safe, Mt. Arrington erupts again. A couple of months after he finally got off the bench and onto the field, Arrington is at the center of the storm once again. Last time, it was not all his doing as it was the coaches who decided that he should ride the pine. This time, however, the eruption was of Arrington’s own making, created by his own words.

In an article by David Elfin in the Washington Times, Arrington says that this is likely to be his last season in Washington.

He says he would be cut even if he hadn’t missed most of last season because of injuries — injuries that lingered and made him a spare part for much of the first half of this season.

“Obviously, using me sparingly or not at all is a very clear message,” says Arrington, who did not play despite suiting up for an Oct. 9 loss to the Denver Broncos. “I’m not wanted here. I believe in my heart that the Redskins faithful love me as Ravens fans love Ray Lewis or Packers fans love Brett Favre. Some individuals hate it that there are more of my jerseys in the stands than anyone else’s.”

Arrington said that his imminent departure had to do with a laundry list of issues including the dispute over $6.5 million in a contract extension he signed in 2003 and his attitude towards the game.

Arrington says his refusal to give his entire life to football also hurt his standing with coaches. “Causing a fumble to win a game or getting an interception to change a season, that’s not the extent of my life,” he says. “It never has been. I always see myself as a person first. Maybe coaches get upset that I don’t take myself or this game too seriously and they do. Maybe they get upset because I see it as a game and nothing more than a game.”

Well, LaVar, when you get paid tens of millions of dollars to play that game, others are entitled to expect that you take it seriously.

Certainly Joe Gibbs does. After practice on Wednesday he refused to comment on the story, saying that he’d just heard about it. He did say that he didn’t even want to think about the situation:


“Right now, for anyone in this organization – or, I would hope, in the entire town – to be focused on anything but Philadelphia is ridiculous. We’re getting ready to play the most important game that a lot of our players have played – in a place where it’s extremely tough to play and in a place where [the home team] just took the Giants into overtime. If we lose the game, we aren’t going anywhere, so my mindset is on one thing: Philadelphia. I’m not thinking about anything else but that.”


This was not like the incident this past April when two reporters stumbled across Arrington in the halls at Redskins Park and, facing another surgery on his knee, he took some emotional shots at the organization. It wasn’t a case where some reporter stuck a microphone in Arrington’s face as he was coming off the practice field or in the locker room after a tough loss. The interview that was the basis for the article took place at Arrington’s house near Annapolis. Either Arrington called up Elfin invited him to come up and talk or Elfin asked Arrington if he could drop by.

In either case, Arrington knew exactly what he was doing. That is what makes this particularly galling.

According to my colleague John Keim, Arrington went to Gibbs with the old “misinterpreted” line. If you believe that you probably flew in Santa sleigh last week. There is no reporter who covers the Redskins who is more respected than David Elfin. He is as good as they come; there’s no doubt that he has everything on tape and that he and his editors made sure that what he wrote fairly and accurately represented what he said.

The Redskins would have to take a net cap hit of some $7 million to cut Arrington. There seems to be little doubt that they will do so. It looks like good riddance.

Through everything that has gone on with Arrington, I’ve always had respect for him as a stand-up guy who often wore his emotions on his sleeve. That has changed. It’s hard to have much respect for a guy who chooses to play games off the field while there are still some very important ones happening on the field.

  1. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2005 at 4:06 AM

    Well you have to consider the fact that the Times probably sat on this story for at least a few weeks. The timing of putting it to print could not have been worse, only maybe if they were actually in the playoffs. I do not blame LaVarr entirely for this. Gibbs comments about what the team, excuse me, the city should be focused on is just another kneejerk reaction by the organization. I grant you that I wish LaVarr had stayed out of the press until the end of the season on Feb. 5. However, anyone who has half a brain knows LaVarr’s days are numbered. There’s plenty of blme to go around. The soap opera continues.

  2. Rich Tandler - Dec 29, 2005 at 10:09 PM

    David Elfin did not sit on this story. I know the man and I know his work and he just wouldn’t do that. The interview happened this week.

  3. Anonymous - Dec 30, 2005 at 5:45 AM

    what do you think of mike wise’s column today? seems like he’s a fan of arrington?

  4. oneampoet - Dec 30, 2005 at 4:39 PM

    ok ok..I know I said I was done for the year, but I’m back for the Phili game (although I am quite certain we will lose)…I agree with Rich that this interview was within the last week and the times did not sit on it.

    I also can’t understand what the hell Arrington is thinking talking this crap at this time of the year, he has just got to be a drama queen….

    Like there is any chance arrington is going to quit football like the article says…If there is one thing that arrington has proven over his years in DC, is that he is the only person greedier than Dan the man, from his contract dispute, to the crap he pulled early in his career with not allowing his name on Jerseys or to be included in electronic football games becuase of royalties.

    I just hope they can find a way to trade him at the end of the season rather than having to release him outright.

  5. Rich Tandler - Dec 30, 2005 at 6:11 PM

    Joe, I’m not necessarily defending how the coaches have treated Arrington. I do know that screaming matches between coaches and players are not uncommon.

    But I stand by my contention that the timing of all this is 100% on LaVar and to say otherwise is just wishful thinking. I’m sitting five feet from Dave Elfin as I type this and he told me that he’s been trying to get a sit-down with LaVar on this subject for five months. Last Monday, Arrington agreed to do it. If that’s not timing things for maximuim dramatic effect, I don’t know what is.

    To be sure, there is such a thing as a media-generated controversy. This is not one of them, it was 100% generated by Arrington himself.

  6. Marty - Dec 30, 2005 at 7:49 PM

    Obviously Rich you have the inside goods on this latest chapter. I’m not questioning the veracity of the story. I guess I should be more realistic. This story was printed when it was for the sake of selling newspapers. If the Skins were to lose Sunday and the story ran next week it would not have caught so much attention. Conversely, it the Skins wer to win the focus would be squarely on the playoff challenge ahead for the team.

    On another note, joe makes an excellent point. Greg Williams will most likely be gone after the season. I think the organization has to ask themselves a very hard question. Does cutting lose the most popular player make sense? I think the general consensus is that he is being railroaded out of town, despite is obvious impact on and off the field (Think $$$$ Danny before you make a rash decsion.) It’s tough to say which side fans would fall. Most generally do not like Snyder’s personaility or business tactics, others are tired of an recently underacheiving (remember the 3 Pro Bowls), overpaid & oversensitive player.

    Final thoughts, can this marriage be repaired. I think the major factor is what will happen to Williams and whether LaVarr is willing to restructure his deal, which at present he is not.

    Final final thoughts

    GO SKINS! BEAT PHILLY!

  7. Anonymous - Dec 30, 2005 at 8:38 PM

    rich, if the weiss story is to be beleived, there seems to be a simple explanation.

    lavar was pissed off at the way he was treated after that game, and called a reporter to talk about it.

    Now it could be lavar was pissed and not thinking and for some reason figured the article would run after the season was over, but who knows.

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