This is the second straight spring that Carlos Rogers expected to be enjoying his freedom and the mega-millions contract that he expects come with it.
Instead, the Washington Redskins’ veteran cornerback remains at home in Atlanta waiting for the NFL, the Players Association and/or the courts to solve the league’s lockout.
“It’s crazy that this is happening to me again, but this year’s a little better because I think we’ll play football eventually so it’s just a delay in me being free,” said Rogers, who was victimized by the system last year when five-year veterans suddenly became restricted, instead of unrestricted free agents. “I won’t be tied down to a $1.5 million salary (again) because now I’m a six-year guy.
“It’s like after my senior year at Auburn when I had to wait more than three months until the draft. I knew I was going to go somewhere and get a nice contract. I just didn’t know where. I’m going to sign eventually. I just don’t know when it will happen or with which team.”
While waiting for the end of the labor impasse, now in its third month, Rogers has been working out with Miami running back Ronnie Brown, his Auburn teammate, and sometimes with Green Bay corner Charles Woodson, who lives in the same building.
Their sessions with a personal trainer are more about abs, glutes, fast twitch muscles and core strengthening than the backpedal drills, bench presses and squats Rogers would be doing if he was training as usual in Ashburn with his teammates, but that’s fine with the 29-year-old Augusta, Ga. native.
“You’re not always flying back and forth,” Rogers said. “You see your family every day. Now that the NFL is so worried about the money, us working out at the team facilities doesn’t seem that important. The players they drafted last month don’t even have the playbooks to learn the schemes.”
Although Rogers said he received end of the season endorsements of varying intensity from coach Mike Shanahan, defensive coordinator Jim Haslett and position coach Bob Slowik, he believes he has played his last game in burgundy and gold.
“I ain’t never discounting the Redskins, but my mindset right now is that it’s time for a change,” said Rogers, whom Washington selected ninth overall in the 2005 draft, meaning he’s been with the team longer than all but five teammates. “I don’t think I’ve been as appreciated as I should be in that organization, not by everybody. I’ve always been the No. 2 corner, but I’m the one they put on a guy they want to shut down. I just don’t have the interceptions like (current fellow starting corner DeAngelo Hall) has and Shawn (Springs, Hall’s predecessor) used to have.
“My agent’s real confident that I’m going to get a good contract. After [Oakland’s Nnamdi Asomugha), who’s going to get real big money, I’m the next corner out there. You hear that the Cowboys and Eagles are looking for a corner. It would be fun to play against the Redskins twice a year.”
But with third corner Phillip Buchanon also unsigned, it won’t be fun for the Redskins this fall if they lose them and fail to win the high-stakes battle for Asomugha.
David Elfin has covered sports since he was a junior at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School in 1975. He is the Washington representative on the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee and is the former President of the Pro Football Writers of America. A pre-game regular on 106.7-The Fan during the 2010 Redskins season, he returned to the station as its blogger in March.