- The Washington Times - Monday, September 18, 2017

Su’a Cravens is done, at least for this year, after the Washington Redskins on Monday placed the absentee safety on the season-ending “Reserve/Left Squad” list.

“We sincerely hope that Su’a uses this time away from the club to reflect upon whether or not he’d like to resume his career in the National Football League in 2018,” the Redskins said in a statement.

The news comes a day after the NFL Network reported Cravens was expected to report back to the Redskins this week and hours after coach Jay Gruden said he hadn’t received any news about Cravens.

The safety initially left the Redskins two weeks ago, telling the Redskins he was thinking about retiring and needed to sort out some personal issues.

Cravens was in Los Angeles this weekend, seen on the sidelines of his alma mater USC’s game against Texas and was active on Snapchat. He was spotted at the USC game with Doug Williams, the Redskins’ senior vice president of player personnel who was in town for Washington’s 27-20 win over the Rams.

On Sunday, multiple sources told the NFL Network that Cravens was expected to report back to the Redskins this week, likely Tuesday. The report characterized the development as a “very positive step in the right direction for one of the team’s bright young players.”

But now, Cravens’ future becomes even murkier and the Redskins will have to adjust without him for the rest of the season. 

Gruden said on a conference call Monday he hadn’t been in contact with Cravens since the safety left the Redskins.

“I haven’t heard anything from Su’a or about Su’a,” Gruden said.

The Redskins made the decision to put Cravens on the “Reserve/Left Squad” list two weeks before they had to make an official decision. When a player is on the “Exempt/Left Squad” list, and Cravens was, a team has up to four weeks before they had to either activate the player to the 53-man roster, release, trade or designate them to the season-ending list.

On Sept. 5, Gruden said Cravens had to sort out some personal issues, but the Redskins would support him. Cravens is just 22 and was selected in the second round of the 2016 draft.

“He knows that we’re all here for him if he needs us, but I think he just needs some time for himself to figure out what he wants to do,” Gruden said.

Without Cravens, the Redskins have relied on Deshazor Everett and fourth-round rookie Montae Nicholson.

But the two are already banged up as Nicholson (AC joint sprain) and Everett (MCL knee sprain) suffered injuries against the Rams. Both are considered day-to-day and will receive further treatment throughout the week, Gruden said. 

In Los Angeles, Gruden started Nicholson instead of Everett. Nicholson, played 26 of the Redskins’ 50 defensive snaps while Everett played 23. 

“We know how important that position is,” Gruden said of Nicholson. “The last couple years, we have had a lot of injuries so we are trying to get all our guys ready to play. Montae has all the traits to be a great safety, we just have got to get him in there and get him some experience and the more experience he gets, the better he will get.”

Cravens, though, gave the Redskins a versatility — a hybrid defender who could play either linebacker or safety. As a rookie, Cravens primarily played linebacker, but the Redskins moved him back to his more natural position in the offseason. The Redskins were counting on him to solidify the defensive backfield alongside D.J. Swearinger and give stability to the safety position after years of struggles.

In his first year in Washington, Cravens had 34 tackles, two pass deflections, an interception and a sack. He missed time with a concussion and then missed the final three games with a bicep injury.

Cravens’ decision to mull retirement, players and Gruden said, does not have to do with the safety’s love for football. Instead, Gruden said sometimes “your personal life is more important, and for him it is.”

The 22-year-old posted a brief series of messages on Snapchat days after he walked away from the team, saying he didn’t feel the need to explain himself.

“I don’t feel like I have to,” Cravens said then. “I think I need to follow what makes me happy. Get my mental right, my well being right, my family right. I’m not worried about the comments or what people think about me. I’m going to be a lot more open with ya’ll now that I can. Now that I have nobody to answer to at the moment so I’m going to be open with y’all. Y’all going to really get to know me.”

The Redskins will get to know the rest of the season without him.

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