- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 6, 2019

The next ESPN talking head who suggests that the Washington Redskins have changed, or the next beat writer who claims that the football operation is the most stable it has been in decades, should have to undergo a procedure by the Redskins‘ medical staff.

The latest evidence of Redskins “stability” on the football side of the operation is on display now with the battle between their best player — left tackle Trent Williams — and the organization.

In the middle of mandatory minicamp at Redskins Park, coach Jay Gruden found himself in a familiar position: being questioned with no answers about another embarrassing controversy.

The latest involves the absence of Williams from mandatory minicamp and the CBS Sports report by Jason La Canfora that he is upset with the team’s medical staff over the handling of a reported cancer scare earlier this year that turned out to be a benign tumor on his scalp.

The report said Williams, drafted in the first round in 2010, has “vowed” never to play for the Redskins again.

The first report from NFL Network’s Ian Rapaport claimed that Williams had not reported to minicamp because he was unhappy with the $66 million contract extension he signed in 2015. Williams has two years left on his deal, with cap hits of $14.7 million and $14.6 million this year and next year.

But the La Canfora report said it wasn’t about money, but his anger with the Redskins‘ medical staff.

Here’s what it is — a mess. Standard operating procedure for this organization.

You have the best player on the team — one of the most influential players in the locker room — reportedly telling people he doesn’t trust the team’s medical staff and wants out. It’s difficult to sort out the truth in all this, but Gruden pretty much confirmed that his star left tackle is indeed unhappy with the circumstances surrounding the handling of his health by the team’s medical staff.

“Well, I know he’s frustrated,” Gruden told reporters Wednesday. “Any time you have something done, the procedure like that of that magnitude, you want to find the reason. You wish something maybe could have been done differently or different timing. But our doctors are very good. I know they did the best they can. I know they have plenty of degrees. I know they did the right thing in their mind. I know Trent is probably frustrated, but at the end of the day, we want him back. The staff wants him back. The players want him back. And hopefully, we’ll get it fixed.”

Gruden was left to answer questions because no one from the organization in charge — like the Prince of Darkness, team president Bruce Allen — had the guts to come out and talk about it. Funny, Allen ran to every microphone he could find when it came to receiving kudos about the draft.

Speaking of the draft, owner Dan Snyder’s prize rookie quarterback, Dwayne Haskins, bought a Bentley last month. If Williams isn’t at left tackle this season, Haskins should have bought an ambulance.

That would seem to give Williams a tremendous amount of leverage if, indeed, money can resolve this. On the other hand, the Redskins could simply wait and see if he is actually willing to sit out regular season games and lose those paychecks.

This is the opposite of “stability,” the bill of goods some have tried to sell about the Redskins. That was fake news even before the Williams fiasco.

Snyder hijacked the 15th pick of the draft from his front office and selected the quarterback he wanted. Director of college scouting Kyle Smith and company can’t be happy about being kneecapped by the owner, whether you think Haskins was a good pick or not.

Then you had a winter where the Prince of Darkness and Snyder interviewed defensive coordinator candidates to replace Greg Manusky right in front of Manusky, who remains castrated on the staff. You had several coaches from last year’s team flee the building for lateral moves with other teams, and they were replaced by coaches who weren’t even in the NFL last year, like Rob Ryan.

Then there was the end of last season, when one of their best defensive players and team leaders, safety D.J. Swearinger, was so disgusted with the coaching staff that he publicly criticized them a number of times, so much so that they had to cut him.

Again, tell me about the new-look Redskins? Tell me about the football “stability?”

This doesn’t even take into account the purge of four business executives, including team business president Brian Lafemina in December, the executives hired by Snyder eight months earlier to get fans back into Ghost Town Field — the so-called home stadium where Redskins players had criticized the lack of support by fans.

There is a sickness deep inside Redskins Park, all right. And this organization continues to stumble from crisis to crisis, shrouded in an aura of self destruction.

Hear Thom Loverro on 106.7 The Fan Wednesday afternoons and Saturday and Sunday mornings and on the Kevin Sheehan Show podcast every Tuesday and Thursday.

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