Former Washington Redskins cornerback Carlos Rogers said Wednesday he realized two years ago that his time in burgundy and gold needed to end.
His contract was nearing its end, and he believed he deserved a big payday. The Redskins, Rogers understood, weren’t going to give that to him. The cornerback said he had seen players replaced by big name free agents rather than rewarded for their play.
So Rogers – drafted ninth overall by the Redskins in 2005 -- expected that to happen to him. Last season the NFL rules prevented him from becoming an unrestricted free agent because the league had no collective bargaining agreement with the player’s union. So he signed a one-year restricted free agent tender. This past offseason, to no surprise for Rogers, the team let him walk.
“It was time for me to leave. I didn’t think that the Redskins were going to re-sign me anyway,” said Rogers, who this summer signed a one-year, $2.13 million contract with the San Francisco 49ers and returns to FedEx Field for the first time on Sunday, as a 49er. “Since I’ve been there, I think the only draft picks that they did re-sign [and who remained with the team longterm] was Chris Cooley and Chris Samuels. I don’t remember any other draft picks re-signing there. I think most everybody came in from outside. So I didn’t think they’d re-sign me being that I was drafted there. … I was ready to get out of there. With the change in the coaches,...you miss [defensive coordinator] Gregg [Williams] and coaches like Coach Gibbs, Jerry Gray. Things were getting different and I was ready to go.”
In his final season in Washington, Rogers played in 12 games and contended with hamstring injuries. He recorded 54 tackles and two interceptions. No one really expected him to return to the team.
Cornerback DeAngelo Hall said, “The writing was kind of on the wall.”
Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said “He was wanting that big payday and we weren’t going to go in that direction, we weren’t going to make that type of commitment for the long term. ... If he was as consistent as we would’ve liked, we would have re-signed him. That’s the reason why we decided to go in a different direction.”
Rogers has thrived in his new surroundings, recording a career-high three interceptions (one returned for a touchdown) and 19 tackles in just seven games. His three interceptions is more than the entire Redskins’ secondary has recorded this season. And most importantly, Rogers is on a winning team; his 49ers own a 6-1 record.
Rogers would’ve liked Redskins’ owner Dan Snyder to open his checkbook and reward him handsomely years ago, but the corner insists that he holds no animosity toward Snyder now.
“It’s not toward him. I’m past the Redskins. I’m over them,” Rogers said with a chuckle. “I just want to go out there, have fun, play against my friends for bragging rights against them. I got no hatred toward the coaching staff. My mindset already was to get out of Washington and so they’re really just another opponent in our way of getting to our goal.
“I had fun times in Washington. On the football field, off the field. Had some good relationships with guys, they want to win. My brother’s still down there. Hearing comments from fans about how much they miss me. You can’t count out them guys, having them through the good and the bad. I still remember playing for some great coaches: Joe Gibbs, I’m still very good friends with Gregg Williams, Jerry Gray.”