Su’a Cravens, with ball, celebrates with teammates last September after intercepting an Eli Manning pass in the Redskins’ win over the Giants. (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

The Washington Redskins’ most irate fans didn’t wait for an explanation once word got out that Su’a Cravens, the projected starting strong safety, intended to retire just one year after the team chose him in the second round of the 2016 NFL draft.

Selfish, they raged on social media. Horrible timing, they wrote, with many hurling expletives that were far worse.

Details were in short supply Tuesday as the Redskins launched into preparations in earnest for Sunday’s season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles. But Coach Jay Gruden struck a compassionate tone in his first public remarks about Cravens, 22, who has essentially been granted a month-long leave of absence by the team to sort out his priorities and resolve unspecified personal issues that have factored in his decision.

“He has given us everything he has had since he has been here,” Gruden said, asked if he felt Cravens owed more to his teammates, coaches and Redskins fans. “I think sometimes your personal life is more important, and, in this case, for him, it is.”

After informing Redskins President Bruce Allen on Sunday that he intended to retire, Cravens was placed on the NFL’s exempt/left squad list, which gives him roughly four weeks of breathing room to think through his decision.

Cravens’s duties will be assumed by third-year defensive back Deshazor Everett, who got extended work at the position during training camp and the preseason while Cravens nursed a knee injury. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Meantime, Gruden and his defensive staff are scrambling to reconfigure the defensive backfield they’d worked hard to bolster in the offseason following last year’s 8-7-1 disappointment, in which the Redskins’ defense finished 28th in the NFL in total yards allowed and last, by good measure, in third-down conversions allowed.

Cravens’s duties will be assumed by third-year defensive back Deshazor Everett, who got extended work at the position during training camp and the preseason while Cravens nursed a knee injury. Gruden loves Everett’s passion for football, which has been palpable on special teams and his limited game-day playing time.

“I know the one thing he can do, he can tackle,” Gruden said of the 6-foot, 195-pound Everett, who was fined $48,000 last season for two special teams penalties, including a hit on Philadelphia punt returner Darren Sproles. “He is not afraid. He has got good ball skills, so that’s a good combination for a safety.”

It’s also a plus that Everett will be paired with free safety D.J. Swearinger, 26, a five-year NFL veteran, signed this offseason to bring toughness and experience to the Redskins’ last line of defense. Swearinger asserted himself as a vocal leader from the first practice of training camp this summer and will counted on to help ensure that Everett lines up properly and gets the defensive calls.

Gruden sidestepped a question about whether Cravens would have to regain the trust of teammates and coaches if he chooses to return to the squad in another month — an option the Redskins are leaving open. Instead, Gruden stressed his belief that Cravens, a standout during his three seasons at Southern California, has a genuine love of football.

“I don’t think that is the issue,” Gruden said. “I just think that there are some things really weighing on his mind that he has to take care of. So if he gets those things cleared up, then sure, we will take another look at him. He is one of our guys.”

In Cravens’s absence, Everett will be paired with free safety D.J. Swearinger, above, a five-year NFL veteran. (Steve Helber/AP)

Cravens’s hiatus from the NFL has, in effect, created the starting opportunity that Everett has worked toward since he signed with the Redskins as a free agent in August 2015, working his way onto the roster from the practice squad after a four-year career at Texas A&M. Nonetheless, Everett voiced compassion Tuesday for the teammate whose life decisions, now, are a mystery inside the locker room.

“I don’t know exactly what he’s dealing with, but as a brother, as a teammate — prayers to him,” Everett said. “I’m sure a lot of people [are] reaching out to him right now. You don’t want to overload it; it’s only been a day since I found out about the issue. [We have to] just give him some time to sit and think and just find himself. And hopefully he’s back with us in no time and back on the field with us — giving us those talents that he brought to the table.”

As Cravens takes time to do that, Everett is focused solely on his responsibilities Sunday at FedEx Field. He has his splashiest NFL performance to date against the Eagles last season, intercepting rookie quarterback Carson Wentz in the end zone in a Week 14 victory at Philadelphia. He’d love nothing more than to replicate, or top, that performance on Sunday.

He doesn’t expect it to be easy, characterizing Wentz as a rapidly maturing quarterback who can’t easily be pigeonholed.

“He can throw the ball well, and he has mobility,” Everett said of Wentz. “You can’t just give him a title of, ‘He’s a pocket passer’ or ‘He’s a runner,’ because he’ll run to create, or he’ll sit in the pocket and take a hit to deliver a throw. That’s just maturity as a quarterback. That’s just more that you’ve got to prepare for.”