“We’re not trading him,” Gruden said. “I just saw that on the ticker. He’s still a member of this football team and we have every intention of seeing where he’s at. I’ll have to talk to him and see where he’s at mentally. Physically, I know he’s going to be in great shape.
“The big thing is, is this something that he wants to do? He has to commit to it full time. He’s a good football player, there’s no doubt about it. He’s a great kid. I’m sure it will work out for him.”
Cravens surprisingly announced his retirement in September due to personal and health-related reasons and was placed on the reserve/left squad list by the team. He hasn’t played a game since his rookie year in 2016.
The 22-year-old has been cleared medically to return to the team and his agent said in December that Cravens had undergone “targeted treatment and rehabilitation” for “post-concussion syndrome.” Doug Williams, the Redskins senior vice president of player personnel, said Wednesday that the team hasn’t talked to Cravens.
“He had personal matters he had to tend to last year and chose to tend to them,” Gruden said. “What can you say about that? A lot of people were disappointed in that because we spent a lot of time with him in OTAs and training camp. We had a purpose for him and a role for him in certain packages and wasted some time practicing those and repping those.
“But at the end of the day, it’s about the player and the individual and he’s got to have the right state of mind in order to play pro football. Hopefully he does now.”
Teammates were shocked when Cravens walked away from the game and DeAngelo Hall recently told 106.7 The Fan he didn’t know how the locker room would accept a return. Sources told The Post that some players were upset at the time.
Safety D.J. Swearinger said he wants to hear an explanation from Cravens during an interview with NFL Network this month.
Gruden doesn’t think there would be an issue with Cravens being accepted in the locker room.
“He’s a young kid, he’s [22 years old], for goodness sakes,” Gruden said. “He made a decision that he thought was right for him and his family and at the end of the day, no one can really put themselves in his shoes. He had to do that for himself and make that decision himself.
“People make decisions. We’re not the judge and jury. It’s up to him to come back and I think guys will accept him back.”
Cravens showed immense potential during his rookie year as a safety-linebacker hybrid. He started three games and finished the season with 34 tackles, one sack, one interception and five passes defended. A concussion forced him to miss time during that 2016 season.
Safety is a position of need for the Redskins as free agency and the draft approaches. Gruden specifically noted the need to add another piece at the position.
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