In the dog-eat-dog world of the NFL, you can go from asset to afterthought in a matter of minutes. Perhaps no one embodies that notion more than Fred Davis.
Once considered the pack leader of a talented tight end stable, Davis now finds himself in the doghouse, and he hasn’t seen the field for the Redskins in any way over the past four games.
“I can’t make them play me, or make them make me active,” he said.
Davis, who is not expected to play on Sunday against Philadelphia, was the No. 1 tight end at the start of the season. He was benched after missing assignments in Week 2 against Green Bay. He missed the Detroit game the next week with an ankle injury and was a non-factor against Oakland in Week 4.
Since then, he’s been usurped by impressive rookie Jordan Reed and fellow veterans Logan Paulsen and Niles Paul. Missing the Minnesota contest, his fifth inactive game of the season, cost Davis a $500,000 bonus.
Davis has said the bonus is part of the reason he hasn’t seen the field, but Redskins coach Mike Shanahan refuted that claim.
“I don’t look at any of those incentives,” Shanahan said. “I keep myself away from those things. I don’t make decisions based on money.”
So what is it? Davis says he’s healthy and willing to participate in any manner to regain the trust of the coaches.
“I’m doing what I have to do,” he said. “I do stuff on special teams, scout team, whatever it is. That’s the only thing I can do.”
Davis was rumored to be on the move before last month’s trading deadline, but he thinks his banishment left teams hesitant to pull the trigger.
“Everybody is going to wonder why I’m not playing,” he said. “Everybody got questions, ‘Why?’ But at the end of the day, all I need is one team to believe in me, and if it’s here or not here, I’m going to show that I’m a pro and I’m able to play in this league.”
And if it turns out that his Redskins career came to an inglorious end back in Week 4 on the dirt field of Oakland, Davis will remain befuddled but unbowed.
“I guess I would think the whole season didn’t go the way I thought it [would go]” he said. “It’s not going that way for me.”
Three questions with Redskins WR Santana Moss
1. Are you satisfied with your season (21 receptions, 249 yards) thus far?
“Would you be satisfied? But why make it about me? All I can do is hope to have the opportunity. Any receiver wants a chance to catch the ball, but it’s not up to you.”
2. Have you been happy with your role?
“In this day and age, you’re not really here to be the best statistically. You’re here to help yourself continue your career and win a championship. That’s how I look at stuff right now. I had those years where I was the guy. I’ve always been a guy that says, ‘Hey, when the opportunity comes, let me be the one to bust through the door when it happens.’ ”
3. Is Sunday’s game a must-win for the Redskins?
“People in the media world get caught up in trying to point out what game is a must and what game isn’t. Every game that we play is a must to me.”