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ESPN: In talk with mates, Arrington puts team above himself


JimmiJo

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http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=2220154

In talk with mates, Arrington puts team above himself

ASHBURN, Va. -- If you think Washington Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington looks like a maniac on the football field, imagine the scene when he was watching his alma mater, Penn State, beat Wisconsin on Saturday.

Did you see that game? Oh my gosh. It was crazy," said Arrington, his eyes as wide as saucers. "I was so proud to be a Nittany Lion. That was unreal watching that on television. I felt like I was at the game. I'm sitting there running around my house. I'm pushing my brother out of the way and stuff like that, jumping up. I was calling out audibles and everything."

Then Arrington got to wondering: Why aren't NFL players able to retain the unbridled enthusiasm they felt as college players? That night, Arrington helped the Redskins address that very issue when the defense held a players-only meeting on the eve of Washington's game against Philadelphia.

It was assistant coach Gregg Williams who had suggested the meeting, telling his veterans it was a "good time for someone to step up and talk."

The curious fact is that Arrington chose to do so.

The three-time Pro Bowl linebacker had only recently worked his way back into the starting rotation after beginning the season disgruntled and on the bench. Arrington had no idea how much he would play against the Eagles, but the unlikely combination of Williams and Penn State triggered him to address his teammates for only the third time in his six-year career.

"It's from the heart if I give it," Arrington said. "It's not ceremonial."

Arrington covered several topics, including the saga of Eagles receiver Terrell Owens, whose suspension threatened to overshadow the game.

"You hear about all the things surrounding the guy from Philly," Arrington said. "It was like, the headline will read 'They couldn't do it without him' if we won, and 'They can do it without him' if they won. It's sad that for such a big game the attention was somewhere else. I wanted to make sure that as a unit it didn't distract us."

Arrington also used the forum to address his own situation, telling his teammates that he didn't want to be a distraction.

"Whether I start or whether I don't, it's about this team, it's about this unit, and we need to be together," said Arrington, who learned the next day he would be starting the game.

But the topic that seemed to stick with his teammates the most was Arrington's plea to bring back the college feel.

"When we were in college, everybody's jumping around," linebacker Marcus Washington said. "You're excited, you're playing because you love it, and you want to bring that same intensity to the game."

Asked why the college enthusiasm wanes once players get to the NFL, Arrington cited the big paychecks, the distractions of grown-up life and free agency, which has players bouncing from city to city with no chance to bond.

"Guys aren't sure they're going to be with a team," Arrington said. "It's hard to have the inner love for the franchise."

Arrington has done his best to make the Redskins his professional version of Penn State. He moved his family to the Washington area and signed a long-term contract, although his future seemed in doubt when he was riding the bench a few weeks ago.

Now he's firmly established himself back in the lineup. He tied for the team high with 10 tackles in the 17-10 win over the Eagles -- the number was increased from six after coaches reviewed the game tape -- and Washington's 5-3 record has him thinking about his playoff debut. The Redskins play Tampa Bay (5-3) on Sunday.

"I've never been over eight wins in the NFL," he said. "That's something I want to experience, to have a winning season and go to the playoffs."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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It all comes back to a few weeks ago...

"Man, I always want to be a Redskin."

While I doubt he'll be a Redskin forever, he's classier than anyone gives him credit for. I'm glad that not only is he finally playing again, but he's been given a leadership role on the defense, and can hopefully motivate them to play like last year.

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Great article... I am a Lavar fan and think he can only help this Defense. Not only is he again a leading tackler but a leader also. It is amazing to think that since he has been in the NFL the Skins have not won more than 8 games or been in the playoffs. This is the year Lavar. Keep up the good work. :logo:

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Wait a minute...I heard from various sources here that...Lavar was gone...done...he was what comes after "W".... "X" as in x-redskins. Very confusing I am going to have to wait to hear from the many many experts here, first.

No. What you heard was he would be done as a Redskin if he didn't fall in line and do what was expected of him. There is no question his changed attitude and practice behavior is a result of how he was dealt with by this coaching staff. The only coaching staff during LA's tenure that has been bigger than LA. LA is a force and I hope he's here for the long haul. Everyone has to be happy about the way it is going.

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No. What you heard was he would be done as a Redskin if he didn't fall in line and do what was expected of him. There is no question his changed attitude and practice behavior is a result of how he was dealt with by this coaching staff. The only coaching staff during LA's tenure that has been bigger than LA. LA is a force and I hope he's here for the long haul. Everyone has to be happy about the way it is going.

I think the various experts he was referring to was the Washington Post. I believe that they had an entire section dedicated to running Lavar out of town. Confusing the Washington Post and ES is a very understandable mistake.

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No. What you heard was he would be done as a Redskin if he didn't fall in line and do what was expected of him. There is no question his changed attitude and practice behavior is a result of how he was dealt with by this coaching staff. The only coaching staff during LA's tenure that has been bigger than LA. LA is a force and I hope he's here for the long haul. Everyone has to be happy about the way it is going.

Sounds like back pedaling, my friend. Back pedal away, I find it immensely vindicating.

I don't see that anything changed about Lavar's attitude, and apparently Gregg Williams doesn't either. Gregg Williams said last week, he was waiting for Lavar's legs. He said nothing about "changed attitude" or "practice behavior" so I don't know why you would? Except you are desperate in how wrong it turned out you were (or friends of yours who are too embarassed to show their face here *wink*). Word of advice: cut your losses, this is not the time to double-up on the anti-Lavar bet. It's over, Lavar's Captain of Gregg Williams' Defense.

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Sounds like back pedaling, my friend. Back pedal away, I find it immensely vindicating.

I don't see that anything changed about Lavar's attitude, and apparently Gregg Williams doesn't either. Gregg Williams said last week, he was waiting for Lavar's legs. He said nothing about "changed attitude" or "practice behavior" so I don't know why you would? Except you are desperate in how wrong it turned out you were (or friends of yours who are too embarassed to show their face here *wink*). Word of advice: cut your losses, this is not the time to double-up on the anti-Lavar bet. It's over, Lavar's Captain of Gregg Williams' Defense.

Gregg Williams never stated that it was about Lavar's attitude. Always said it was him not getting to par witht he D, health etc.. Can we just for one day try to see things on the good side of them?!!

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Gregg Williams never stated that it was about Lavar's attitude. Always said it was him not getting to par witht he D, health etc.. Can we just for one day try to see things on the good side of them?!!

I understand what you're saying but a little gloating is in order. Alot of people tried to defend LaVar while his name and reputation was dragged through the mud on this site by many posters only to be accused of being "LaVar lovers" or "not true fans" blah blah blah.

Alot of us "LaVar Lovers" (I take that as a compliment thank you) are just happy that Mr. Redskin is back on field after a curious and at times distressing absence.

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Gregg Williams never stated that it was about Lavar's attitude. Always said it was him not getting to par witht he D, health etc.. Can we just for one day try to see things on the good side of them?!!

:applause: Your absolutely right - Gregg Williams never did state there was anything wrong with Lavar's attitude. That's why I cannot believe Mr. stevenaa would tell me, by name, it was obvious. I mean if Gregg Williams is happy enough with Lavar to have him be his Captain of Defense, and Lavar is happy doing it...then like you say, why can't people see the good side of them. Why aren't true Redskin fans happy?

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