- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 3, 2004

Linebacker LaVar Arrington yesterday called his contract dispute with the Washington Redskins a “travesty” but stressed that it wouldn’t become a distraction in his preparation for next season.

“That’s the business side, that’s the football side,” Arrington said at Redskin Park, pointing to the two halves of the team’s headquarters. “I’m not going to mudsling with anybody.”

Arrington’s agent, Carl Poston, has accused the Redskins of shortchanging his client $6.5million in the nine-year, $68million contract extension Arrington signed just before the end of last season.

According to several sources familiar with the accusation, Poston has said the Redskins negotiated one version of the deal and then switched out another one before it was turned in to the league.

The Redskins vehemently disputed Poston’s claim, calling it “ridiculous” and describing myriad safeguards the sides took during negotiations to ensure there would be no miscommunication.

The NFL Players Association apparently has not decided whether to move forward with a case, which would be held before the NFL Management Council. NFLPA general counsel Richard Berthelsen has not returned repeated phone calls regarding the dispute in recent weeks.

A source familiar with the accusation said Poston is confident the case will be heard by the management council. Arrington, for his part, yesterday indicated he is taking the matter very seriously.

“It’s a travesty that it had to be one of the events of recent weeks,” Arrington said.

The Redskins responded last night to Arrington’s comment.

“If anyone owes an explanation to LaVar, it’s his agent,” team spokesman Karl Swanson said. “The team has never failed to honor an agreement with a player.”

At the same time, Arrington repeatedly said his frustration won’t be evident to fans or observers.

“I’ll never be a jerk to anybody,” he said. “I don’t harbor any bad feelings.”

Arrington has been to three Pro Bowls in four NFL seasons but has yet to play for a Redskins team with a winning record. He is one Redskin who has grown visibly tired of the constant turnover and mediocrity, and it has been no surprise that he has refrained from gushing about new coach Joe Gibbs or the club’s active offseason.

“I’m waiting like the Washingtonians,” said Arrington, who met Gibbs face to face for the first time yesterday. “I’m waiting for something good to happen.”

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