The Washington Redskins begin their work week each Wednesday with a team meeting in the morning. They gather in the main auditorium at team headquarters to focus their preparation for Sunday’s game. This week’s gathering was unusual in that it featured a couple of guest speakers.
Fred Davis and Trent Williams apologized to their teammates for their multiple violations of the NFL’s substance abuse policy and for being suspended for the rest of the season. And then the Redskins trudged on toward the end of this lost season without two of their best offensive players.
“Am I disappointed in them? Big time,” coach Mike Shanahan said. “Yeah, because they affect not only themselves, but this whole organization and their teammates, and that’s a bad decision. They know they put us in a heck of a position, not even talking about themselves and what it means to them and their future.”
Teammates echoed Shanahan’s disappointment a day after the league made the suspensions official. The bleak reality had set in: They have to play their final four games, including this week’s matchup against the high-powered New England Patriots, without their leading receiver and most athletic offensive lineman.
“They want us to kind of understand, but at the same time, it’s difficult,” co-captain DeAngelo Hall said. “It’s difficult not having those guys out there for the wrong reason. It’s not like something happened … with an injury or something, something that you couldn’t control. This was something that they could control.”
“Just real quick they both got up and just expressed their remorse and just [were] apologetic for what they did,” quarterback Rex Grossman said. “It was extremely genuine. You could tell that they’re both not exactly in the best mood right now. As a team, it was nice to hear.”
Shanahan spoke to reporters about the suspensions for almost 11 minutes. He was stern at times, and at others his words dragged with obvious disappointment.
“I think our whole team feels let down,” he said. “There’s no question about it. Everybody should feel let down. Everybody’s accountable for what they do. You always put your team first. You know the consequences when you go through something like that.”
Questions focused on Davis‘ and Williams‘ futures with the organization. Williams is only two years into his rookie contract, but considerable uncertainty clouds Davis‘ future because his contract expires at the end of the season. It’s possible he has played his last game for the Redskins.
Another positive drug test for either player would result in a year-long suspension. That likely will affect teams’ pursuit of Davis this offseason.
“We’ll see what direction Fred’s going in,” Shanahan said. “I can’t get into a lot of detail, but any contract that anybody would sign somebody to, knowing that with one failed test that they could be gone just like that, they’re going to protect themselves in the contract and it will be based on performance and based on going down the straight and narrow.”
Shanahan said the team became aware of Davis‘ and Williams‘ positive drug tests once they started getting fined for them, but he wouldn’t say exactly when that was. He expressed disappointment that they continued to violate the league’s drug policy after testing positive once.
For now, both players are subject to counseling and increased random drug testing. They are permitted to attend meetings at team headquarters during their suspension, but they aren’t allowed to practice.