Five years ago this month, I talked to LaVar Arrington about his soon-to-be-launched radio show on 106.7 The Fan, a station that didn’t actually exist yet.
“If you thought I had a lot to say as a Washington Redskin, you have no idea,” Arrington told me then. “I have a lot to say. I have a whole lot to say. The wave is comin’, bro.”
Hasn’t crested yet. As previously reported, Arrington will begin a full-time analyst role at NFL Network next month, a job that requires a drastic reshuffling of his life and his radio career. Arrington’s family has already relocated to Southern California, and although he will keep his house in Maryland, he plans to be in California at least four days a week.
He will continue to do two live hours of radio a week for 106.7 The Fan, and will make other contributions to the station, such as for the Sunday morning pre-Redskins game coverage. He will also continue his ties with Maryland-based Under Armour, and with Xtreme Procision, his football training company. But with a multi-year NFL Network deal, Arrington will be away from the D.C. area for more than he’s been since moving here after he was drafted in 2000.
“It was a difficult decision, super difficult,” Arrington told me on Tuesday, after his final appearance on The Post’s Post Sports Live. “I didn’t want to leave. I’ll put it to you like this, I just felt like I hit my ceiling where I’m currently at. As far as everything that I’m doing right now, this is it. This is it. And the NFL Network turned my ceiling into my floor.
“So I had to do it,” he said. “I didn’t want to uproot my family, I didn’t want to have to do anything different, but they presented a golden opportunity. [NFL Network], that’s Manhattan real estate, that’s Beverly Hills real estate; it’s as valuable real estate as you can possibly get….They gave me a great opportunity, and they really believe in it. [Producer] Jeremy Louwerse, he really believes in my abilities, and that’s evident. And I feel like we can do some special things.”
Arrington said he looks forward to a more visual medium, where he can show viewers what he’s talking about with NFL clips and replays. He joked about how much less he will actually speak per hour on television versus radio; “television is quick bursts and then you stop,” he said. “Television is more like football, whereas radio is more like soccer.”
He said this is his last week doing full-time radio shows with 106.7 The Fan, but he isn’t sure how much nostalgia and looking back he’ll do on the air before his final regular show.
“I’m not given to that,” he said. “It makes me uncomfortable. Getting too much attention that way just makes me uncomfortable.”
— Capitals Outsider (@CapsOutsider) July 15, 2014
And while Arrington said he didn’t know exactly what the station’s new show would look like, he had high praise for the local following established by his former co-host, Chad Dukes. The two men aren’t exactly similar personalities, and their chemistry may not have been immediately perfect, but their relationship grew far closer with time.
“We had to learn each other,” Arrington said. “We were put in a marriage. I spent more time with Chad than I did with my wife and my kids. So when you look at it from that perspective, you’ve got to get to know one another. We had our up moments, we had our down moments, but I would say for the last two or three years we’ve been pretty tight.”
Arrington said he wouldn’t get choked up about leaving Washington, because “I don’t feel like I’m leaving.” And while he said he always planned to have a successful post-NFL career, he never thought it would be as a media member.
“It just kind of happened,” he said. “I saw it as a challenge, and I guess I ended up being pretty good at it, despite all the critics that said I wasn’t any good….But what I will say is I truly enjoy the media. What’s always been a priority for me is the fans. That’s always been my deal, that’s my first priority, because I look at the fans like my family. So I’ll say media has given me a true opportunity to stay connected to the people that have meant the most to me. And I think that’s why I went so far with it. Because if people are going to keep giving me the opportunities to keep being in front of the fans, then that’s what I’m going to do.”