Redskins tight end Fred Davis watched the NFL trade deadline come and go on Tuesday and realized his situation had not changed. Inactive the last two weeks, Davis is stuck in limbo until the end of the season.
“I just want to play,” Davis said in candid remarks after Wednesday’s practice at Redskins Park. “I like it here. I was drafted here. But at the end of the day I just want to play. If I can’t play here then I did want to play somewhere else.”
That didn’t happen and it was pretty easy to see why. Davis holds more value to the Redskins now than he did on the trade market. A free agent at the end of the season, the team’s 2008 third-round draft pick is insurance if rookie tight end Jordan Reed is injured. Reed has supplanted Davis as Washington’s pass-catching tight end. Niles Paul and Logan Paulsen are better blockers than Davis and play special teams, too.
“I thought [a trade] might [be a] possibility,” Davis said. “But when I really thought about it, because next year I’ll be a free agent anyway and for someone to give up a draft pick for a guy to be a free agent next year, I don’t think that would make sense.”
And no team was willing to do so. Davis did say that he spoke with Redskins coach Mike Shanahan on Wednesday and he was told to stay ready. But Washington hasn’t shown much inclination to use Davis on the field at the same time as Reed. That is not lost on him.
“I feel like I can block and catch the ball,” Davis said. “I am surprised that we’re both not out there. But like I said, I think that’s the way they want to go with it.”
Davis was scratched in games against the Chicago Bears and Denver Broncos. He missed the Sept. 15 game against the Detroit Lions with an ankle injury that he says is now healed. Davis has caught just three passes for 25 yards in four games. He is also in line to miss out on a $500,000 bonus if he is inactivated for five games. He’s well aware of that, too.
“This is a business. So I’m sure that plays a factor,” Davis said. “And Jordan’s on an [entry-level] deal so you can always keep him around for a while, too, for not as much.”
But Davis also can’t afford to just pack it in for the rest of the season. He bristles when questions about his work ethic arise, including rumors that he’s fallen asleep in team meetings before.
“I’ve never slept through a whole meeting, but I’ve nodded off,” Davis admitted. “I mean, everyone nods off. I mean, it’s like, it’s dark in there, you nod off, you wake up, get something to drink and go back. I’ve done that.”
Those comments won’t help him. But Shanahan did praise Davis’ effort during practice last week before the Denver game.
“I’m just going to keep playing hard, just out here doing what I have to do,” Davis said. “So even if I do go somewhere next year [the Redskins will] be able to say good things even after the situation. That I still played, practiced hard, was still a pro, came and did my job every day.”
Last season, Davis appeared in seven games before sustaining a season-ending tear of his left Achilles tendon in an Oct. 21 game against the New York Giants. In 2011, he was second on the Redskins with 796 receiving yards and had 59 catches and three touchdowns. But Davis missed the final four games of that season for a violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
“I think they’re just doing what’s best from them to do,” Davis said. “I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t really know. This is a weird situation. I’ve never been in it before.”