The Washington Post

Redskins’ Fred Davis starts the most important season of his career

Tight end Fred Davis grabs a pass during practice July 27. (John McDonnell/THE WASHINGTON POST)

He knows that with another failed drug test, he will be suspended from the NFL for an entire year. He also knows that if he wants a long-term contract, he must not only stay out of trouble, but also perform on the field. 

Davis has said repeatedly that his marijuana use is a thing of the past. And this week he said that although he’s well aware that he is under scrutiny for several reasons, he is blocking that out. 

“I mean, those are factors at play, but actually, I don’t even think about it right now,” said Davis, who last season was on pace to break all of the franchise’s tight end receiving records for a single season. “I got franchised right now. That’s all I’m gonna focus on. I’ll focus on the team that we have here right now. If you start focusing on money and the future, sometimes it doesn’t happen the way you want it to happen, so I’ll just focus on playing right now.”

Davis recorded 59 catches for 796 yards and three touchdowns last season. Had he played a full season and maintained that production, he would have had a good chance of earning his first Pro Bowl selection. 

The Redskins chose to use the franchise tag on Davis, paying him roughly $5.5 million for this season. That deal expires after the season, when Davis will again be a free agent. Davis signed his franchise tender soon after he received that designation from the Redskins. 

He didn’t view the one-year deal, instead of a long-term contract, as a frustrating development. 

“I respect it, because I know why,” Davis said. “Definitely coming off a suspension, I felt like they did what they had to do, so for me, I’m fine with that.”

Over the offseason, Mike Shanahan invited former Denver Bronco, now Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe to come to Redskins Park to talk to his players. 

Asked what he learned from Sharpe, Davis said, “I guess just his work ethic. I didn’t really get to hang out with him too long, but I guess, just the way he talks about how he works – just daily, every day, doing something to get better. Working out two times a day, studying film. He wasn’t the biggest tight end, but he was making the biggest plays out there at that time.

“So, just hearing that type of stuff. He was on the field, so he was showing me some things, some routes, some blocking techniques that he uses, so that was pretty good.” 

Davis often drew heavy attention from defenses last season because of his production, and because of the limited number of consistent options on Washington’s offense. But this season, following the signing of Pierre Garçon, the anticipated resurgences of Santana Moss and Chris Cooley, and the drafting of Robert Griffin III, Davis expects plenty of opportunities. 

“I felt [teams were paying more attention to me] at the end of the season last year, but I was still able to make plays,” Davis said. “I think now, with more threats like Pierre and Santana in the slot. . . I think that it’s going to be a good opportunity for me actually because they don’t have to worry about just me. They got to worry about Robert and then whoever’s in the backfield making plays. I think, for me, it’s a good situation.”

More Redskins coverage:

Moll thinks Redskins are a good fit

Kerrigan sits again

Game is clicking for Riley

Mike Jones covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. When not writing about a Redskins development of some kind – which is rare – he can be found screaming and cheering at one of his kids’ softball, baseball, soccer or basketball games.



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