LaVar’s last stand?
LaVar Arrington knows he won’t be a member of the Washington Redskins much longer. That’s fine with him. In fact, Arrington is not sure he wants to play football for any team after this season.
“It’s not a given that I’ll continue playing if the Redskins get rid of me,” the 27-year-old linebacker says, sitting in the dining room of his majestic, 20,000-square-foot mansion east of Annapolis. “I don’t really want to play for anyone else. I don’t feel bad about it. I’ve had my time. I’m capable of doing other things besides football.”
For three seasons, from 2001 to ‘03, Arrington was the Redskins’ biggest star, a three-time Pro Bowl performer. He was well-rewarded by the club, and that’s when things began to go bad.
Arrington says an 18-month dispute over a $6.5 million bonus in the contract extension he signed two years ago poisoned his relationship with owner Dan Snyder, then the rest of the organization.
Arrington wouldn’t be a Redskin next season even if things still were amicable between him and the organization. He is due $12 million in 2006, and he likely will be cut before a July 15 deadline in his contract that calls for him to be paid $6.5 million if he still is on the roster.
“It’s crazy and unfair that something I had very little to do with derailed my relationship with management,” Arrington says. “You see they’re not marketing you anymore. You see people interacting with other people the way they used to interact with you. I watched how things were with Stephen Davis. I watched how things were with Champ [Bailey]. I saw the same things happening to me.
“I restructured my contract to help the Redskins. Do you think I’m going to do that now? Of course not.”
Davis produced the best three-year span (1999 to 2001) for a running back in franchise history, but he was cut after the 2002 season. Bailey was a four-time Pro Bowl cornerback (2001-03) with the Redskins, but he was traded to the Denver Broncos in March 2004.
Arrington says he’ll be the next to go. 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.”
That feeling of separation from the Redskins coincided with Arrington’s move in February of last year to Annapolis and this house that sits on the lip of a creek that leads to the Chesapeake Bay.
Arrington lives so far from Redskin Park that he usually stays at a rental property in Virginia during the season rather than commute home to his version of paradise, with its adult playrooms full of autographed NFL helmets and NBA sneakers, suits of armor, Spider-Man statues, a koi-filled indoor pond and plenty of Arrington memorabilia.
There also is an all-pink baby room: Arrington and his wife, Trishia, are awaiting the birth of their first child, Marlee, around Jan. 15. Keeno, Arrington’s 5-year-old son from a prior relationship, is a frequent visitor.
“I didn’t plan to move this far from Redskin Park,” Arrington says. “I looked all over Virginia and Maryland for this type of setup. But I wanted to be near the water.”
The Redskins are on the verge of their first playoff berth in Arrington’s six seasons. He’s back in his accustomed spot as the weak-side linebacker, as he has been every week that he’s been healthy since Nov. 5 (he missed December wins over Arizona and Dallas because of a bruised thigh).