Fred Davis says he’d like to play more, suggests inactivity is related to contract

Fred Davis (83) met with Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan a day after the tight end wasn't traded (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

Fred Davis (83) met with Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan a day after the tight end wasn’t traded (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

A day after the NFL’s trading deadline passed without him being dealt by the Washington Redskins, tight end Fred Davis met with Coach Mike Shanahan. Davis said later Wednesday he would like to play a meaningful role for the Redskins during the remainder of the season, but he’s not optimistic that will happen unless an injury creates an opportunity for him.

Davis also suggested that his inactivity this season might be related to a clause in his contract tied to the amount of games for which he’s on the active roster. Shanahan denied that.

“I thought it might be a possibility,” Davis said of the prospect that he would be traded before Tuesday’s league-wide deadline. “But when I really thought about it, no. I mean, because at the end of the day, next year I’ll be a free agent, anyway. And for someone to give up a draft pick for a guy to be a free agent next year, I don’t think that makes sense.”

Davis said he’s aware that trade talks took place but he does not think a deal came particularly close to happening.

“I know teams were talking,” Davis said. “But I don’t think it was gonna happen because I don’t think no one wanted to trade for someone that’s probably gonna be a free agent the following year. To give up a draft pick for that, I don’t think that makes sense.”

He said he would not have minded being traded if that would have led to more playing time than he will receive with the Redskins.

“I just want to play, like I said,” Davis said. “I like it here. I was drafted here. But at the end of the day, I just want to play. If I can’t play here, then I did want to play somewhere else.”

Asked if he sees a role for him to play on the team the rest of the season, Davis said: “I hope so. I think that definitely if I was on a team that needed a tight end, I think it would be seen what I can do right now.”

But he also said later during a nearly 7 1/2-minute question-and-answer session with reporters following Wednesday’s practice: “I don’t know. I think probably if someone went down, maybe. But other than that, I don’t see anything happening.”

Shanahan and Davis acknowledged they met Wednesday.

“There’s always a lot of rumors and speculations that are out there,” Shanahan said. “That happens all the time when somebody gets out there and there’s some talk about being traded. I just shared some of my thoughts with Fred and let him know that I expected him to practice at a certain level and have his mind ready to play in the game, and you never know when that situation is gonna occur. We had a good conversation and he practiced well today.”

Davis has only three catches this season and has been on the team’s inactive list in each of the past two games. He also was on the inactive list once earlier this season due to an ankle injury. He reportedly has a clause in his contract that pays him a $500,000 bonus if he’s active for at least 12 games this season.

Asked if he thinks that contract clause has played a role in his recent de-activations, Davis said: “Probably. It’s a business. So I’m sure that plays a factor. Jordan [Reed, the team’s rookie tight end] is on a third-round deal so, you know, you can always keep him around for a while.”

Shanahan said that has not been a factor in the way Davis has been utilized.

“One thing I try to do as a head coach now as comparison to when I was in Denver, I don’t look at any of those incentives,” Shanahan said. “I keep myself away from those things. I didn’t know that until I was just told about two minutes ago that that was a clause, for those reasons. I don’t make decisions based on money.”

Davis also was asked by reporters about speculation that he has fell out of favor with the coaching staff because of poor practice habits and issues such as falling asleep during team meetings. Davis called such criticism unfair and unfounded.

“I’ve never slept through a whole meeting but I’ve nodded off,” Davis said. “Everyone nods off. It’s dark in there. You’re watching film. You nod off. You wake up, get something to drink, go back. I’ve done that. I think everybody’s done that.”

Davis said his ankle feels “really good” now and he’s “surprised” that the team has not found a way to use both him and Reed effectively. He praised Reed’s play but called his lack of opportunities “frustrating” and said he thinks he’s in “a weird situation.” He said he wouldn’t do anything differently if given the chance and he vowed to continue to give full effort, in part because he wants the team’s coaches to speak favorably about him if he is headed elsewhere for next season.

“I’ve never had it happen to me before,” Davis said. “It’s my first situation like that. But from what I hear from other guys, it happens a lot in the league in different places, different organizations. It depends on the organization. But I feel like, yeah, it [stinks]. I don’t like it. But you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do and just make the best of it.”

Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at mike.jones@washpost.com with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag on Tuesdays.

What’s ahead:

● The Redskins practice Thursday at 1 p.m., preparing for Sunday’s home game against the San Diego Chargers.

● At 7 a.m., the Opening Kick asks about the greatest single-game performance in history, and later in the day, Gene Wang shares some fantasy football tidbits.

From The Post:

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Morgan tries not to be discouraged about role | Cousins disappointed in his play

Outsider: How Redskins set up a key play against the Broncos

Doughty hopes to play Sunday | Thomas encouraged by progress

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