Even as Shanahan tried to treat Monday as business as usual at Redskins Park, questions remain about Davis and Williams. Even though it’s become increasingly clear neither will play another snap for the Redskins this season, Shanahan will have to make decisions this offseason about each player’s future in Washington.
“We’ll always be looking for not only the great athletes, but great character,” Shanahan said. “Some people will make mistakes — we understand that — along the way. And it doesn’t mean that we’re going to just drop somebody because they make a mistake. We’ll make sure they’re made of the right stuff, and we’ll adhere to that.”
Shanahan said he expects to know the status of Williams and Davis before the Redskins hold practice on Wednesday to begin preparations for Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots. The league and the NFL Players Association reached an agreement in principle Saturday to suspend the two Redskins for the final four games of the season, according to multiple people familiar with the case who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Both players have tested positive for recreational drug use at least three times, those familiar with the case say, including once prior to the 2011 offseason, once during training camp in August and at least one more time after the regular season began in September.
Williams and Davis were at Redskins Park Monday, one day after playing in the Redskins’ 34-19 loss to the New York Jets. Shanahan said he spoke with both players and they went through the same Monday routine as their teammates, including film study and a team meeting. “Until something is said to me, they will be here,” Shanahan said.
Davis and Williams are cornerstones in Shanahan’s offense: young and talented with Pro Bowl-caliber potential. But since arriving in town in January 2010, Shanahan has also made clear that he wants to work with a specific type of football player.
“In order to put your best football team together, you need talented players,” he said Monday. “You also need to have players with high character. . . . You can get to the playoffs with a lot of talented players. But to win a Super Bowl, to be the top organization, you’ve got to have character, and that’s the way you win it. That’s the way you separate yourself once you get to the playoffs.”
Both Williams and Davis will face a one-year suspension from the NFL with another positive drug test, according to one person familiar with the agreement. Despite the four-game suspension, each player could still have a bright future in Washington.