Zac Boyer will be entering his third season covering the Washington Redskins for The Free Lance-Star this fall. Make sure to follow Zac on Twitter (@ZacBoyer) for the latest updates or e-mail him with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fred Davis, Trent Williams Officially Reinstated From Suspensions By NFL
Washington Redskins tight end Fred Davis and left tackle Trent Williams, who were suspended for four games on Dec. 6 for failing multiple drug tests, were officially reinstated from those suspensions as planned on Jan. 2, an NFL spokesman confirmed Tuesday.
Davis and Williams were allowed to be in and around Redskins Park during their suspensions, but were not allowed to participate in practice. The coaches chose not to include them in any team meetings or organized film reviews but did keep them on a team-organized lifting and workout plan.
The two declined comment Monday, with Davis saying “I’ll talk later” as he was escorted up a staircase by a Redskins spokesman. They have maintained their silence since original word of the suspensions emerged Dec. 4, shortly after kickoff of the Redskins’ game against the New York Jets.
According to multiple reports, Davis and Williams were among 11 players who tested positive for recreational drug use, said to be marijuana, during the nearly five-month owners’ lockout.
The NFL Players’ Association initially fought for amnesty from any penalties related to drug testing when the collective bargaining agreement was agreed upon in late July, but a settlement reached between the league and the association allowed nine of the players, first-time offenders, to receive no penalty.
As repeat offenders, Davis and Williams were handed a four-game suspension; both reportedly tested positive for a third time, and while the usual punishment for a third strike is a year-long suspension, terms were amended because of the ambiguity surrounding the lockout.
Williams was scheduled to make $7,852,000 this season, the second of his six-year rookie contract, but was docked nearly $1.9 million by missing the last quarter of the season.
Davis, in the final year of a four-year, $555,000 rookie contract, will lose only $138,750. But the damages could be greater as he enters the free agent market this offseason, and teams are sure to be leery of a tight end who, despite having the best season of his career, could be one more violation away from missing an entire season.
Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan said Monday both had learned from their mistakes. Williams, Shanahan said, improved his work ethic this past season but needs to prove he can continue to do so.
“He’s got to be smart enough to understand that if you disappoint your football team like he did, you better come back with a passion and show people you’ve got the work ethic and the drive to do what we need him to do, especially being the fourth pick in the draft [in 2010],” Shanahan said. “We know what type of talent he has. We know he’s a very likeable guy. … But he’s got to prove that he can do it on a day-to-day basis and set the standard for the rest of our football team and our organization.”
As for Davis, Shanahan seemed to be open to his return next season.
“We sat down and talked about his mistake,” Shanahan said. “I do feel very good about Fred as a person. I liked the way he worked. I like his attitude. I like his development over the last year and a half since I’ve been here. I think he’s had a complete change in the way he’s handled himself off the field to prepare himself to be a consummate pro with working out. Hopefully the mistake won’t happen again that he made this year.”