By Howard Bryant
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 29, 2005
On the day the Washington Times reported that LaVar Arrington doesn't expect to play for the Redskins next season, former teammate Jeremiah Trotter said he believes the linebacker remains a valuable player.
"LaVar is a guy I would go to war with any day," said Trotter, who plays for the Philadelphia Eagles. "He's a guy that strikes fear in his opponents. When that guy is healthy, he can do anything that he wants on the field."
In the Times, Arrington said he thinks he will be cut or traded for salary cap reasons and would not mind playing for former Redskins coach Marty Schottenheimer in San Diego. In recent weeks, Arrington has been more vocal about his future with the Redskins, seemingly convinced that this Sunday could be his last game with the team if it doesn't make the playoffs.
Part of the reason is Arrington's uneven relationship with team assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams.
"From talking to guys that play there, what he had to go through -- not starting the first five games -- wasn't planned," said Trotter, who played with Arrington on the Redskins during the 2002 and 2003 seasons. "He's more of a professional now. He studies and plays within the scheme. I've always said, even when I played there, if we could ever get this guy to play within the scheme, and be a professional, he probably could be the most dangerous defensive player in the league."
Arrington said yesterday at Redskins Park that he is focused on playing the Eagles on Sunday and he regretted the timing of the Times story. He said he would like to return next season but doesn't know if that is possible.
When asked to comment on the story, Coach Joe Gibbs said he was not thinking about anything other than the Eagles.
"This is the most important game most of these players have ever played," Gibbs said. "To be focused on anything other than Philadelphia is ridiculous."
Former Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann said he did not believe that Arrington's situation would be a distraction.
"Joe doesn't care about any of this," Theismann said. "He's been through it before. We had Dexter [Manley] and a bunch of other stuff. LaVar is frustrated. That's all."Sticking to His Prediction
The Redskins haven't even clinched a playoff spot, but Theismann is feeling pretty good about his preseason prediction that his former team will advance to the Super Bowl.
"Yes, I stand behind my prediction," Theismann said. "What's changed to make me change my mind? I don't care if people think I'm a homer. You could analyze this team and come to the same conclusion. Plus, outside of Seattle, there isn't a dominant team in the NFC. They had Tampa on the ropes. Carolina had a must-win at home against Dallas and couldn't win that one, so who is out there in the NFC that they would be considered overmatched against?"
The Redskins can make the playoffs with a win Sunday. Theismann, who watched the Redskins go from 5-6 to a win from a playoff team, says now he isn't the one who is crazy.
"Sean Salisbury said if it happened, he would walk from Dallas to New York, or something like that," Theismann said of his fellow ESPN analyst. "Let me tell you: That's something I don't want to see."Springs Sits Out Practice
Along with quarterback Mark Brunell, starting right cornerback Shawn Springs did not practice yesterday. Springs has a strained right groin, but has played the last two games. His partner on the left side, Carlos Rogers, has not played the last two games because of a torn left biceps muscle, but did individual drills without pads.
Jon Jansen, Chris Samuels and Renaldo Wynn also did not practice. Because all the players except Rogers were listed as probable for Philadelphia, Gibbs said their absences were "precautionary."