By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, July 30, 2005
Lawyers and representatives from the Washington Redskins met with linebacker LaVar Arrington this week to settle his lingering financial grievance with the team, NFL sources said. The meeting was held after Arrington opted out of an arbitration hearing earlier this month.
Two league sources with knowledge of the situation, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that Arrington's new lawyer, Steve Brown, as well as officials from the NFL Players Association, including NFLPA Executive Director Gene Upshaw, visited Redskins Park in Ashburn on Wednesday, at which time the matter was resolved.
According to one of the sources, Arrington no longer has an active grievance against the team and there will be no future arbitration hearings. The source said all financial differences between Arrington and the team were resolved. It could not immediately be determined whether Arrington received any additional compensation as part of the settlement, but another source indicated that part of the agreement had not yet been completed.
Karl Swanson, a spokesman for Redskins owner Dan Snyder, said he was unable to reach him for comment yesterday. Snyder is on vacation in Colorado. Vinny Cerrato, the team's vice president of football operations, did not return a call seeking comment. Coach and team president Joe Gibbs was contacted through a team spokesman but did not comment.
Brown, who spoke openly earlier this month about Arrington's desire to mend relations with the club and reach a "win-win" solution to the grievance, has not returned repeated phone calls this week. A message left with the NFLPA was not returned.
Arrington contended that the Redskins failed to include a $6.5 million bonus in the eight-year, $68 million contract he signed with the team in December 2003. After a year of delays the case was scheduled to be heard July 18. Arrington met with Upshaw a few days before that date and decided to forgo arbitration, because, as Brown later stated, "It's not a matter that [should be] litigated where one party is making allegations in a semi-public forum against other parties with a third party [arbitrator] involved."
Arrington missed virtually all of the 2004 season because of knee problems and twice underwent surgery to remedy the injury. During the offseason he criticized coaches and trainers for their handling of his knee injury after the team failed to announce that he had undergone a second surgical procedure. He was unable to participate in minicamp this spring and he might not be cleared to participate in contact drills when training camp begins Monday morning.
Brown said previously that Arrington wanted the grievance settled before the start of training camp, but with Gibbs and Snyder on vacation, it was difficult to get all of them together. The reason for the meeting Wednesday was as much to solve the financial matter as it was to repair a strained relationship between the player and the team, according to Brown.
"LaVar recognizes that it's to everybody's benefit to restore this relationship," Brown said during an interview 10 days ago. "And he's the one reaching out to the team to restore that relationship."
The Redskins reacted immediately to Arrington's request to postpone the arbitration date. Director of football administration Eric Schaffer, the team's primary negotiator, issued a statement saying, "While we agreed to the postponement I think it is very important to finalize through arbitration that the Redskins did nothing wrong to our highest-paid player. I also feel strongly that the business ethics of the agent should be questioned and looked into."
Schaffer did not return a call seeking comment on the meeting with Arrington, and Arrington's agent, Carl Poston, has not returned numerous phone calls on the matter.
Redskins Notes: The Redskins are still trying to sign first-round picks Carlos Rogers and Jason Campbell before the start of training camp, and will work all weekend to attempt to do so. "We're exchanging ideas and having conversations, but nothing is imminent at this time," said Campbell's agent Joel Segal. . . . The Redskins signed safety Omar Stoutmire yesterday and released offensive lineman Ben Nowland. Stoutmire spent five seasons with the New York Giants and missed all but one game last season due to a knee injury. He has started 51 NFL games over eight seasons. . . . Injured linebacker Mike Barrow is expected to be released before training camp begins.