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Davis wakes up to new reality

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Rookie tight end Fred Davis' public mea culpa yesterday came 16 days after he overslept and missed the last day of the Washington Redskins' mandatory minicamp.

"I want to start by apologizing to [Redskins owner Dan] Snyder, Coach [Jim] Zorn, the players for making a minor mistake, just not waking up on time, something that was irresponsible of me," said Davis, whom the Redskins drafted in the second round out of USC. "I can't believe I did that. I overslept. I felt really bad. It's something that won't happen again ever."

The former USC star had to wait to address the incident because NFL rules prohibited him from returning to the team complex after the minicamp until the graduation of his class, which was Friday.

Davis repeated what Zorn said when the incident was revealed: He switched to a single room the previous night without telling the Redskins, so they didn't know where to find him the next morning.

"I just wanted my own room," Davis said. "I'm used to that. I didn't explain [the switch] to the Redskins because it was maybe 8 p.m. I went to bed early and was in the hotel the whole night, I didn't even go out. I went in the room, and I don't know [the difference from] California time, the [exhausting] two-a-days got to me and I just overslept."

Practice was at 9:30 a.m. that day, and players were transported to Redskin Park much earlier so they could prepare.

"When I woke up, I looked at the clock and I was like ['uh oh'], and then I seen my phone message [from the Redskins]," Davis said. "I don't know the exact time, but I know I talked to [executive vice president] Vinny Cerrato during practice. I got over as soon as I could."

Davis said Zorn's major initial concern was Davis' safety, but meeting with the coach later that day felt "like going to the principal's office." Since he's not under contract yet, the Redskins can't fine him or suspend him. And they aren't going to cut a second-round pick for oversleeping.

Zorn said Davis, who has since regained a roommate, was "mortified" by his mistake, but the transgression wasn't his first such incident. Davis wasn't allowed to accompany USC's team to the Orange Bowl at the end of his freshman season after he didn't return to Los Angeles on time from his Toledo, Ohio, home following Christmas break. Although Davis won the John Mackey Award as the nation's top tight end in 2007, some draft evaluators questioned his work ethic.

"It's not my character," Davis said. "I'm a hard-working person. Now I want to move on and do what I'm supposed to do ... make plays and be an athletic tight end. Just to get back [here and] start working out helps out. [I]'ve got to make sure [I] do everything right and represent the Redskins the best I can, and that's what I'm going to try to do."

As for the nights ahead, Davis said some of his teammates have joked about buying him a Flavor Flav clock to wear around his neck.

Notes - Receiver Antwaan Randle El, who had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee May 5, walked well yesterday and said he will begin running soon. ...

The Redskins hired Morocco Brown to replace Louis Riddick as director of pro personnel. Brown, an assistant director of pro personnel for the Chicago Bears for the past seven years, was an assistant in Washington's scouting department in 2000. All of Washington's scouts whose contracts were expiring were given new two-year deals. ...

Earl Leggett, who coached Washington's defensive line from 1997 to 1999 under coordinator Mike Nolan and coach Norv Turner, died Thursday at 75. Leggett played 12 years as a defensive tackle in the NFL, winning a championship ring with the 1963 Bears.