By Howard Bryant
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, October 5, 2006
The first meeting between LaVar Arrington and the Washington Redskins will be, the Redskins and Giants players acknowledged yesterday, the story line of the week. But they also said the idea of Arrington being the feature attraction will end on game day.
"We're not playing one guy. We're playing the New York Giants," fullback Mike Sellers said. "I might give him a kiss and tell him I love him, but after the game. Seriously, I'm sure he's going to play with a high level of intensity, but so am I."
For six years, Arrington was the signature player on the Redskins, but he left as a free agent after the team's first playoff appearance in his tenure. But unlike other players, Arrington's relationship with the Redskins ended so sourly that his former teammates understand that Arrington might view Sunday as a grudge match.
"He'll be out there trying to prove a point, saying, 'They threw me away, and they thought it was over for me, so I'm going to try to hurt everybody,' " cornerback Shawn Springs said. "It's like LaVar to go out there and be a wild man and mess somebody up. That's how he plays. I was in the locker room only two years with him, but I know he's very competitive."
Arrington declined the invitation to appear on the weekly conference call with reporters, but Antonio Pierce -- Arrington's teammate with both the Giants and Redskins -- said after years in Washington and with the way his Redskins career ended, Arrington would be highly motivated to do well.
"LaVar might disagree, but I think you get kind of complacent. You get used to your surroundings. You're the man there. It's different when you kind of get knocked down. People say you're not as good as you used to be, so he came here with a fresh mentality."
Of course, Springs also had the line of the day. When he was asked if the Giants would have an advantage over the Redskins because Arrington is so familiar with the Redskins' defense, Springs replied, "Well, I don't think LaVar knew all of our defense when he was here."Sellers's Role
Running back Clinton Portis said one of the more underrated aspects of the Redskins' resurgence is Sellers's physical approach.
"To have Mike in front of me gives you a confidence. Whoever that first guy in the hole is, he's going to get wiped out," Portis said.
"I'm sure if you watch the film, there were a lot of guys who got wiped out," Portis said. "When you can make another man run from you on a football field and when he gets paid to tackle and hit, he's coming in the hole, turning away and backing up, I think that gets exciting. Any time you can deliver as an offense and play with a defensive mentality where you're hitting people and they're realizing, 'This guy ought to be playing linebacker.' When they're running from him, that opens up a lot for us."
Portis said Sellers, who sparred with Jacksonville middle linebacker Mike Peterson on Sunday, is the right guy to run behind.
"That's a luxury. That's like having a Phantom or a Bentley or something," Portis said. "You know it isn't going to break down on you. You know it will be dependable. You have to put a lot of money, a lot of time into it, so I have to pay Mike on the side."Washington Rests
Strong side linebacker Marcus Washington did not practice yesterday for the first time this season. "There was no real reason for it. The coaches thought he should rest," Gibbs said, citing "general soreness." . . .
Defensive tackle Joe Salave'a practiced after missing the last two games with a strained right calf. Salave'a said he hopes to play Sunday, but at this point was against "making predictions." . . .
Gibbs said Springs's status remains unchanged. Springs hasn't played since the first preseason game Aug. 13 because of an abdominal tear. He has sounded alternately pessimistic and hopeful about his prospects. Yesterday, Springs was dour. "I want to see the statistics of guys who had a sports hernia and came back the same season," he said