- The Washington Times - Friday, December 29, 2006

Minutes after he completed what might have been his final practice with the Washington Redskins yesterday, safety Adam Archuleta called his first season with the team “extremely bizarre” and said he has been “very, very, very stressed out for five months.”

Signed to a six-year, $30 million contract in March, Archuleta started eight games before losing his job to Troy Vincent, who was signed by Washington in October. Archuleta hasn’t played a defensive snap since Week 9 against Dallas. He practices exclusively with the scout team and said he is surprised he hasn’t been deactivated for several late-season games.

“It’s hard to elaborate without explaining the whole situation,” Archuleta said in his first extensive comments since early November. “Right now, I’m not sure if I want to get into all of that. There will be a time when I’ll say what I need to say. I’ve had plenty of time — five months exactly — to think about my situation.”

The season has been bizarre because Archuleta wasn’t the only newcomer to struggle in the season’s first half, yet defensive end Andre Carter and receiver Brandon Lloyd continued to play. The stress came because Archuleta’s relationship with safeties coach Steve Jackson quickly disintegrated.

Archuleta was unwilling to speculate on his future with the Redskins, who conclude their season tomorrow night against the New York Giants.

“You guys probably know more than me,” he said. “I’m sure there are a lot of people that know more about this than I do. I don’t know anything.”

Archuleta maintained he has not been communicated with properly about his status, an assertion coach Joe Gibbs denied yesterday.

“I think he was told, and normally what happens is the position coach has discussions and says, ‘This is what we’re planning on doing,’ ” Gibbs said. “I’ve had long discussions with Adam also. … I’ve had a sit-down talk with him and about what I thought would be smart for us to do in the future.”

Archuleta was careful to point out the coaches haven’t lied to him.

“It’s hard to say I’ve been lied to because I haven’t been talked to,” he said.

If the Redskins cut Archuleta, various scenarios have them suffering a salary cap hit of around $7.2 million in 2008 or a $9 million hit in 2007 depending on whether the team picks up his $5 million roster bonus in March.

In the following days, players will meet with their position coaches to review the season. That seemingly would be an opportunity for Archuleta to search for answers.

“Honestly, I haven’t thought about what’s going to happen as far as that,” he said. “I don’t know if there’s going to be an exit interview. Do I deserve an explanation? I don’t think an explanation really matters anymore.”

Clearly, Archuleta and the Redskins coaches are agreeing to disagree on their level of communication.

One time the coaches did communicate with him was during a walkthrough Sept. 10, a day before the Redskins opened against Minnesota. A source close to the team said Archuleta was told Pierson Prioleau was taking his starting position. But Archuleta started when Prioleau sustained a year-ending knee injury on the game’s opening kickoff.

Archuleta made 55 tackles in nine games but struggled mightily in pass coverage. When he lost his starting job, the Redskins were 3-5, ranked 26th in yards allowed and 30th in passing defense. Even when Vincent was injured, Archuleta didn’t play; journeyman Vernon Fox has started the last five games. The Redskins remain awful defensively, 30th overall and 29th against the pass.

Archuleta said he doesn’t want to cause a stir with comments in case he’s looking for a new team during the offseason. But he’s intrigued by what will happen in the next few weeks and months.

“I’m interested because it’s my livelihood, and hopefully somebody will talk to me soon,” he said. “All you ask is for people to be straight up with you. I don’t mind bad news or negativity. If somebody says to my face what my faults are and what I’m doing wrong and what kind of person I am, I welcome that because it’s an honest assessment. That’s all anybody wants in this business. That’s the only way I can make a critical evaluation of who I am as a player.

“I’ve said from Day One of this that everything happens for a reason and I was meant to go through this and something good will come out of it. Obviously, people haven’t really felt it was necessary to tell me what’s going. When they feel it’s necessary and feel it’s time, they’ll call me.”

Note — Khary Campbell, Washington’s leading tackler on special teams, missed practice again with an injured hamstring and is unlikely to play in tomorrow’s finale.

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