Linebacker Jeremiah Trotter was one of the Washington Redskins‘ biggest acquisitions during the 2002 offseason. The former Philadelphia Eagles linebacker joined fellow free agent Jessie Armstead and LaVar Arrington– the second overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft — to create a strong linebacking corps under then-defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis.
Things weren’t always harmonious between Trotter and Arrington as the former described this week in an interview with Philadelphia’s 97.5 The Fanatic.
Trotter discussed Arrington openly talking about going to parties at owner Dan Snyder’s house, his lack of studying and inability to cede defensive calls to Trotter.
Trotter took a trip down memory lane to describe the time he punched Arrington during a 2002 training camp team meeting. He told 97.5 morning show host Anthony Gargano that the former Penn State all-American was asking for it by berating him over film study during a linebackers meeting. The punch caused Arrington to miss about a week and a half of practice, Trotter said.
“I really made an ultimatum for myself. I shouldn’t have done it. I told the guys in the car, I said, ‘ya’ll mark my words, I’m tired of trying to make peace with this guy. If he says one more word to me, ya’ll mark what I say, I’m gonna put him to sleep. Just like that.’ And the guys, they were still kind of cracking jokes. They didn’t really think about it. They didn’t know how serious I was.
So, we get into meetings. The way they got meetings set up is … you’ve got defensive linemen in one room, defensive backs in another room, and we’re in our room. And we get to the play. Now [assistant defensive coordinator/linebackers coach] George Edwards could have prevented the whole situation if he had just skipped over the play. But we got to the play, and George was like, ‘Trot, man. You and L.A. — we’re a team, we gotta stick together. Once Trot makes the call, it’s not the safety’s job to come change it.’
So I’m sitting in the front row. It’s me on the left side, Jessie Armstead in the middle, and LaVar Arrington on the right side. And when coach said that, he [Arrington] said, ‘No, f*** that! I want everybody to see he don’t know what the f*** he doin’! So I didn’t say nothin’. I just leaned over and looked at him. And I would’ve let that one slide. But, George was like, ‘No, no, it’s just the middle linebacker’s job to make the call and roll with it.’ And [Arrington] got even louder. I guess he took my kindness for my weakness. ‘No, f*** that!’ He just started getting crazy. So, I stood up and as I’m standing up, I’m talking out loud … ‘I’m through playing. I ain’t talkin’ no more but I’m talkin’ out loud to myself. I think I’m saying it in my head, but I’m actually talking out loud. So I stood up and I pushed the chair back, and when he stood up he lunged and swung at me. And when he did, I faded and I caught him with an overhand right. Yeah, he was out. You ever seen a boxer fall? When he hit the table, he kind of came back. At that time, I just blanked out, so I was going in.”
Trotter added that Edwards broke his thumb trying to separate the linebackers and he still remembers how wide-eyed the young linebackers became watching it all unfold. He said that Armstead and Bruce Smith held a meeting to prevent news of the fight from getting out to the media but Armstead couldn’t resist calling Ray Lewis to talk about the fight.
According to Trotter, Arrington thought he had hit his head on the desk until Trotter went to his room to apologize and informed him of what happened.
To Arrington’s credit, Trotter said he “may be the best athlete that I’ve ever seen put on a uniform” along with Terrell Owens. But he later followed that up by saying “It would have been really unfair for God to make [Arrington], like, a really smart player. He’s a smart guy. He just didn’t study.”
Trotter said the two have since made up and Arrington even cracked an inside joke about it when NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was chatting with the two at the 2013 NFL Draft.
The full audio can be found at 975thefanatic.com. The story about the fight starts around the 8:40 mark.
(h/t Philly Influencer)