Redskins' Davis Gets Message

Jim Zorn had 100 percent attendance at his first workout, but it wasn't long before a rookie gave him the first test of his head coaching career.
Jim Zorn had 100 percent attendance at his first workout, but it wasn't long before a rookie gave him the first test of his head coaching career. (By John Mcdonnell -- The Washington Post)
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By Jason Reid
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Washington Redskins are satisfied that tight end Fred Davis, the team's second pick in the recent draft, understands he acted unprofessionally in failing to attend the final practice of minicamp, and they expect him to learn from the experience, Coach Jim Zorn said yesterday.

Davis missed practice Sunday because he overslept, the Redskins said. Attempts to contact Davis were unsuccessful, but Davis's brother, Kedran, also said in an interview Sunday that Davis probably overslept after a late night out on Saturday. Zorn met with Davis, who was located by team security personnel, in his office Sunday, and any disciplinary action will be handled internally, the Redskins said. After Washington completed its first of three organized team activities this week at Redskins Park, Zorn said he is confident that Davis wants to succeed in the NFL.

"He definitely got the message," Zorn said. "He was mortified sitting in my office. That's probably enough for a young guy to have to sit there, but his mom knew as well. He had to go face her, so he had to face the music twice.

"He doesn't want to do anything wrong [and] he didn't start out well. He's going to come back here now [and] have to face our team as well. There's enough penalty in just the humility of that. I think he senses that."

Zorn intimated that Davis had already been punished enough. "There's discipline right now, enough, because he . . . messed up his situation, he messed up our situation, because we couldn't see him that day," Zorn said. "But it's going to be a learning experience. And how he moves on from this, that will tell us a lot as well."

Rookies will not participate in this week's OTAs. The OTAs, of which there are 11 scheduled, resume June 2, and rookies can take part in the final eight.

Some draft evaluators reported that Davis exhibited poor work habits and made questionable decisions at times. But the Redskins considered Davis to be too talented to leave on the board as they prepared to make the 48th overall pick.

"As long as they learn from their mistakes, that's the biggest thing," said Vinny Cerrato, Washington's executive vice president of football operations. "The kid felt awful. Jim got a chance to talk to him and Jim's handling it internally. I've talked to his agents and the kid feels horrible, which he should. Anytime you miss anything, to me it's important. Especially when you're here to . . . he's making his first impression. Do what's right. He made a mistake. Now, he's got to fight back from the mistake."

Although it is only minicamp, Davis impressed when he did participate, Zorn said. Davis displayed the receiving skills that helped him win the John Mackey Award, which is presented to the nation's top tight end, as a senior at USC, making several nifty catches in seven-on-seven passing work. Cerrato said he was aware of the talk surrounding Davis before the draft. But based in part on his conversations with USC Coach Pete Carroll, who worked with Cerrato in the San Francisco 49ers' organization, Cerrato became convinced that Davis could help the Redskins.

"We checked him out thoroughly and we were fine with everything," Cerrato said. "I talked to Pete a couple of times. There was never any big issue. I know he missed something and [he was suspended for the 2005 Orange Bowl as a freshman]. I think, a lot of times, you go away from home, you get homesick. He's from Ohio and he went to California. Young guy like that in college . . . you mature. When he got comfortable with his environment, he matured. He was a freshman. I was homesick when I was a freshman, too. I think it's just a maturation process, a learning process, and he has to learn from his mistakes."

Redskins Notes: A day after he was excused from the final practice of minicamp to be with his ailing son, Reed Doughty rejoined the team for the start of OTAs. Doughty's son, Micah, is battling a viral infection that began after a March 10 kidney transplant. "He's doing okay, but it's still a process," Doughty said. "He's still in the hospital. He's got a virus that a lot of kids get, but it's a little more wearing on him with the transplant. His fever came down. That's a big thing." Micah's fever had reached 105.8. "The problem was it just stayed there for so long," Doughty said. "They just wanted to keep him. He'll probably be in the hospital a few more days."

Micah, 21 months, was born nearly six weeks prematurely and had experienced chronic kidney failure, which required him to take a variety of medication and undergo dialysis each night. Blood work performed yesterday showed that Micah's kidney was not failing, which was a relief to Doughty and his wife, Katie. Now, he can focus a little more on football.

"It's not easy sometimes," Doughty said. "Even though my focus is on the field when I'm on the field, you still, you know . . . it is hard to get away from [thoughts of his son's health]. But I feel like when I'm on the field I'm on the field. When I'm off, I'm going to see my family and try to take care of those things. You really just have to focus on the task at hand. We've been in the hospital, we've been out of the hospital, so you just try not to look too far ahead. You just try to take care of that day." . . .

The Redskins had 100 percent attendance on the first day of OTAs under Zorn. . . . Defensive lineman Kedric Golston (sprained right ankle) was at the complex but did not participate in activities on the field.

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