By Howard Bryant
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 7, 2006
Washington Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs said yesterday that, after private meetings Monday and Tuesday with Brandon Lloyd, his concerns about the wide receiver had been resolved and that Lloyd would play Sunday against Philadelphia.
Gibbs said Monday that he had issues with Lloyd that required his attention after an incident late in Sunday's 24-14 loss to Atlanta. Lloyd was flagged for a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for throwing his helmet, and Gibbs benched him for the final 2 minutes 40 seconds of the game.
Lloyd, 25, said the meetings were about "the things you should and shouldn't do on the field," although he declined to discuss the details. Lloyd said he did not regret the incident and that there was nothing about his personality that he or Gibbs felt he needed to change.
"Just control my emotions. . . . It sends bad signals to the quarterback, bad signals to the players," Lloyd said. "I don't regret anything I've ever done. I think I've made some pretty good decisions in my time, and nothing so bad that I would regret it. So it happened, and you have to own up to it and move on.
"Anything can happen," Lloyd said about the possibility of another blowup. "I don't want it to happen, and I'll do my best for it not to happen."
The season has been frustrating for Lloyd, but, as another player put it, no more frustrating than for any other member of a 4-8 team that had playoff aspirations. Gibbs and some Redskins players thought Lloyd's helmet throw showed up quarterback Jason Campbell. Team sources said they would like Lloyd to exhibit more maturity.
"We see eye to eye, we're on the same page and I'm playing on Sunday. It's one of those things that happen that you learn from and move on," Lloyd said. "I've had this personality since I was about 5 years old. And if I ever thought it was a problem, I would have changed it. I'm okay with this kind of attention. So if I thought it was a problem, I would have changed it 20 years ago."
In a rare move, Gibbs said during his weekly news conference on Monday that he had met with Lloyd to discuss his behavior and needed to meet with him again. Traditionally, Gibbs does not talk about disciplinary meetings with players.
"I have an attitude that's really good for a winning team. It is," said Lloyd, whose teams are 10-31 in the 41 games he has started in the NFL, and have never finished at or above .500. "But at the same time, I'm not going to change. I'm still going to be me. I'm still going to have fun out there regardless of where our season is and where our season goes."
Lloyd, who was acquired to provide balance after Santana Moss carried the wide receiver corps last season, has started all 12 games, but has caught only 20 passes for 295 yards and no touchdowns. David Patten, whom Lloyd replaced, caught more passes in nine games last year than Lloyd has in 12 this season.
On Sunday, Lloyd's penalty came late in the fourth quarter, after Atlanta safety Chris Crocker intercepted a Campbell pass at the Falcons' goal line to thwart a Redskins drive. The loss left Washington with faint playoff hopes
"My intentions are good. I didn't mean anything derogatory by that," Lloyd said. "I didn't put myself before the team, but it was a culmination of everything, the realization that we probably won't be in the playoffs. Everything. It wasn't an individual act by any means."
Lloyd was not a popular player in San Francisco, which drafted him in the fourth round of the 2003 draft and traded him to the Redskins in March for third- and fourth-round draft picks. The Redskins then tore up his contract, which had one year remaining, and gave him a six-year, $30-million deal that has $10 million guaranteed.
In San Francisco, Lloyd fought with team leader Fred Beasley, a fullback who said Lloyd was not a team player, as well as running back Kevan Barlow, who suggested that Lloyd was more interested in a possible career as a rap musician than being a winning football player. Lloyd angered 49ers public relations executives by referring in his rap lyrics to the predominately white members of the San Francisco media as "crackers."
During training camp, Lloyd said he knew he no longer wanted to play for the 49ers before midseason last year and began only playing for himself, an attitude that angered teammates. According to some Redskins, some 49ers called them in the offseason and told them to prepare for dealing with Lloyd.
"I wanted to get out of there after the [Tim] Rattay trade, just because our coach would sit in meetings and tell us the main objective is to win, and we just traded away our best option to win," Lloyd said. "So after the meeting when they told us Rattay was gone, I called my agent and said: 'I'm ready to go. I'm ready to be out of here, because this isn't going anywhere.' And that's when the countdown began. Like, 'All right, eight games left, seven games left, four games left.' That's just what my mind-set was. My mind-set was on doing my part to make myself attractive to other teams. That's how I approached last season. Screw everything else and just play. And that's just how I felt about it."
Ironically, the 49ers (5-7) have a better record this season than the Redskins.
Now, in Washington, similar attitude questions about Lloyd have arisen. Gibbs said Monday that a series of events over the course of the season forced him to confront Lloyd and that the helmet toss Sunday was merely the culmination. Other Redskins players and personnel members said Lloyd has not always endeared himself to his teammates or support staff because of his moodiness and temper. Though he initiated the action with Lloyd on Monday, Gibbs said yesterday that he no longer wanted to discuss the issue.
"I think things happen from time to time, and Brandon has a good attitude about it. We laid out some things. I think we both feel good about it," Gibbs said. "He's a young guy who means a lot. . . . We're going to work our way through it and definitely he's playing Sunday."