- - Tuesday, May 21, 2019

When Reuben Foster went down on the third play of the Washington Redskins’ first day of their first session of voluntary offseason workouts on Monday, it seemed like a traumatic moment for the team. Photos, videos and descriptions of the injury to Foster — a severely torn knee ligament with possible artery damage, according to various reports — showed the concern and alarms of coach Jay Gruden and others who were there.

The key part of that sentence is “who were there.”

It wasn’t as traumatic for some Redskins — Josh Norman, Adrian Peterson, Trent Williams, Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis among them — who were not there on Day 1 with their teammates. They chose not to attend.

That’s their right — these workouts are voluntary, and it would be in the best interests of both management and players to either do away with them or make them mandatory and save the bad look of absence for everyone.

That said, a team that has done nothing and gone nowhere for two decades, a team that supposedly likes its head coach, who is in the final year of his contract, a team with a brand new rookie quarterback who has been crowned after just a few snaps in voluntary workouts and a new veteran quarterback who came over in a trade — should show up for all workouts from Day 1, voluntary or not.

Teammates who want to build a support system for a troubled soul like Reuben Foster would seem to want to be there for him for his first workout.

The first offseason voluntary team workout without its stars and team leaders — Peterson, Williams and Norman — sounds awfully like the team that whistleblower D.J. Swearinger testified to before he was finally kicked out of Redskins Park, when he told anyone who would listen that the coaches were too soft on the players and didn’t practice hard.

After being released in December and then signing with his old team, the Arizona Cardinals, Swearinger wrote on Instagram: “That coach y’all have will never win big cause it ain’t in him to coach discipline. it ain’t in him to chew somebody out in practice cause they lacking. when u say I’m a cancer for wanting to practice harder or wanting to get coached harder just to win then winning prolly not for you or you don’t understand that hard work pays off. Mediocre work get you beat! Remember This — winners are born but champions are made.”

Now, you can argue that Peterson, who came off the street last August and became the Redskins’ MVP, hardly needs a voluntary workout. Nor does Williams, now in his 10th NFL season, coming off a health scare from a growth on his head and who plays hurt regularly.

But if there was a sense of urgency among players who were crushed by the laughingstock New York Giants 40-16 in Week 14 last year on the way to a 7-9 record, you might think they would all want to come together to illustrate that sense of urgency.

Instead, there is a sense of entitlement. High-priced free agent Landon Collins didn’t take long to get with the program when he declared in interviews that the Redskins would win multiple Super Bowls with the arrival of Dan Snyder’s chosen one, rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins.

There were two other curious absences from the Day 1 workout who missed the Foster injury. One was defensive tackle Daron Payne, part of the Alabama mafia. I thought these Alabama guys stick together? I thought the Alabama players were going to be part of the support group for their former Crimson Tide teammate, Foster?

Then there was safety Montae Nicholson, who, after being arrested last December for assault in a fight outside Loudon One near Redskins Park, had the charges dropped last week reportedly due to lack of evidence. You would think that if anyone would be at every voluntary workout for this team, it would be Nicholson, since they didn’t cut him following the arrest.

Instead, they cut Swearinger.

Now Nicholson has a chance to take the starting job that Swearinger left vacant. Yet he was absent Day 1. At least Nicholson was there on Tuesday, according to one insider, who also reported that veteran Davis showed up for the second day of workouts.

As far as Foster, there is no karma or bad luck or curse here. The aura of self-destruction that engulfs the Redskin is just that — self destruction. A season-ending injury in noncontact drills in offseason workouts is not self destruction. It’s just a bad break. It seems cursed because it gets thrown on top of the same pile of stench this organization generates on its own.

Hear Thom Loverro on 106.7 The Fan Wednesday afternoons and Saturday and Sunday mornings.

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