By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, October 13, 2005
Washington Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs made what he deemed his final public comments on the benching of linebacker LaVar Arrington yesterday, disputing the player's account that no explanation has been given for what he needs to do to get increased playing time.
Earlier in the day, Arrington, who did not get on the field for Sunday's 21-19 loss at Denver, rejected the notion that a lack of understanding of the defense or poor practice habits resulted in his benching.
"I'll probably address this for the last time," Gibbs said after practice. "The only comment I heard today is something about LaVar said that nobody has talked to him. I've talked to LaVar more than any player I've ever coached in 30 years, probably three times more. I've had great conversations with him and told him exactly what he needs to do.
"Our coaching staff here has got tons of experience, and, I believe, plays the best guys. So at whatever point LaVar is the best person to be in there, I'm convinced he'll be in there. That'll pretty much end it for me, and I want to concentrate on playing Kansas City."
Arrington, 27, a three-time Pro Bowler, said he knows all his assignments and is comfortable in the Redskins' disciplined system. He disputes the notion that his "freelancing" ways led to his predicament and comments by others, including former defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis, who called him "undisciplined." Arrington, who practiced with special-teams units yesterday, says no one has informed him why he is not playing more.
"The worst part of this whole situation is people start trying to tag you for your character," Arrington said. "This is football, and if you want to talk about me not playing or different things like that, that's fine. But don't attack my character. I try to be a good person. I try not to do things that won't cause trouble or anything like that and just keep it on the football thing.
"If I'm not playing, then I'm not playing, and it's something I'm sure the coaches will address. I think the thing that bothers me is that people attack my character and attack who I am as a person. Of course, life isn't fair, but I don't think that's fair at all. That's strange."