Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said Monday that he had yet to speak with the NFL in regards to the four-game suspensions faced by tight end Fred Davis and left tackle Trent Williams. The coach said until he does hear from the league, he will not discuss the situation and will proceed with business as usual.
Davis and Williams reportedly failed multiple drug tests. They are expected to be lost for the year and on Sunday played presumably their final game of the season.
Their absences will severely hamper the struggling Redskins’ efforts on offense. Davis leads the team with 59 catches, 796 yards and three touchdowns. Williams – the fourth overall pick of the 2010 draft – is the team’s top offensive lineman and protects quarterback Rex Grossman’s blind side.
Shanahan declined to speculate on the problems Davis and Williams’ absences will cause.
“No. 1, there’s a strict, confidential protocol between the NFL and the players association, and I have not talked or spoke with the NFL thus far,” Shanahan said. “Until I do, there’s not really anything I can say at this point. … I don’t want to go through those scenarios – hypothetical situations – until I know for sure what the NFL and the players association has agreed to.”
Shanahan said that he expected that “within the next 24 hours,” he would receive a call from the league instructing him how to proceed.
On Monday, the coach, his staff and players – including Davis and Williams – operated as if nothing had changed. Davis and Williams reported to Redskins Park along with their teammates and went through film-study sessions.
“Everything was as normal,” Shanahan said.
Neither player came into the locker room during Monday morning’s media availability, and weren’t seen in the hallways during that time from 11-11:40 a.m.
The Redskins have relied heavily on Davis and Williams this season. With Chris Cooley plagued all year by a knee injury that landed him on injured reserve, Davis had emerged both as the team’s go-to tight end and its most explosive playmaker. Davis – playing in the final season of his contract and auditioning for a big payday this offseason -- needed just 53 yards to set the team’s single-season record for receiving yards by a tight end. Wide receiver Jabar Gaffney ranks second on the team with 46 catches for 665 yards and three touchdowns.
Williams, meanwhile, had improved in his second NFL season and is coming off of his best three games, having neutralized Dallas pass-rusher DeMarcus Ware, Seattle’s Chris Clemons and New York’s Calvin Pace.
“Fred has had an opportunity since Chris has been down to take over the tight end position. He’s taken advantage of the opportunity. You can see he has big-play ability. He’s practiced hard, he’s played hard and now we’ll wait and see what the situation is,” Shanahan said before later saying, “Fred does a great job both in the run game and the passing game, one of the reasons why he’s considered one of the top tight ends. And Trent, obviously the fourth pick of the draft, I think everyone knows, his size, his weight, his speed, very likable guy, works extremely hard, and his upside as a football player.”