- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 8, 2006

Few can consider themselves experts in all things LaVar Arrington as confidently as Antonio Pierce.

For four seasons, the linebackers were teammates with the Washington Redskins. In 2005, Pierce defected to the rival Giants and made a determined recruiting pitch for his erstwhile teammate. Sure enough, Arrington came aboard this season.

Few can understand what Arrington has gone through this week as reliably as Pierce, who like his buddy harbors all sorts of resentment about what happened in the District. Last season, Pierce channeled the bitterness and redirected it at his former team in a resounding 36-0 thrashing of the Redskins. As solid a player as Pierce evolved into, he never was the emotional and physical presence Arrington was with the Redskins, making today’s reunion at Giants Stadium even more of a must-see event.

“I went out there with a jacked-up mentality to go out there and prove a point. I was amped up the whole game,” Pierce recalled. “I told him how I was. I talked to him before the game last year, and he kind of saw the look in my eye. It’s the same look I expect him to have. I think his feels probably a little more hurt than mine because of the way things went down with him and the way he feels about them as a whole organization. I expect the guy to go out there and probably have his best game so far.”

The Giants are waiting for Arrington to put his imprint on a defense that has largely been responsible for the stuttering 1-2 start to this season. In three games, Arrington has 12 tackles (10 solo), one defended pass and not a single sack. A new team, a new scheme and a new lease on life was supposed to turn Arrington back into the pass-rushing menace he was while playing in three consecutive Pro Bowls for the Redskins, but thus far there has been far more talk than any impressive action. His balky right knee needs managing in the form of a reduced practice load, and his considerable ego has been pushed into the background on a team with a pair of Pro Bowl defensive ends in Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora.

This is the week and the game Arrington finally wants to break through. Usually ready, willing and able to hold court at his locker, Arrington begged off all interview requests until Thursday, explaining he wanted to first hear the rhetoric about him coming out of the District. The wait proved beneficial.

When asked what kind of clues Arrington could provide to the Giants’ offense about the Redskins’ defense, his former linebackers coach, Dale Lindsay, said: “None. He didn’t know anything when he was here. What makes you think he’ll know something up there?”

As if that wasn’t enough, safety Shawn Springs echoed that sentiment.

“I don’t think LaVar knew all of the defense when he was here,” he said.

Arrington could hold back no longer. He said he had no relationship whatsoever with Lindsay, called Springs’ remarks “stupid” and believes he detected a conspiracy.

“You have a coach throw a statement out there, get a company guy to sit there and co-sign it and what do you get?” Arrington asked. “People believe it.”

When told that coach Joe Gibbs earlier this week spoke highly of him and expressed regret he didn’t find a way to solve his problems with the popular linebacker, Arrington scoffed.

“I could care less,” he said. “He’s Joe Gibbs. If he wanted something to be different, it would have been different. He’s a part of the Trinity, some people would say.”

Arrington not only shared what he knew of the Redskins with the Giants’ coaching staff, he says he also handed over his playbook from last year.

“If we were undefeated, I think I would have more of a focal point on it being the Redskins, but we need to win,” Arrington said. “I feel more pressure to get on track and perform so that the Giants fans have something to cheer about rather than sit there and try to prove something about who we’re playing against. We have to win this game, in my opinion. We have to get back on track.”


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