WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — Nobody was more surprised the Washington Redskins were ready to part ways with Jabar Gaffney than the wide receiver himself.
The Florida product produced career-high numbers in 2011, leading Redskins receivers in a host of statistical categories.
Although Washington made upgrading wide receivers a priority this offseason and brought in the likes of Josh Morgan and Pierre Garcon, it was believed Santana Moss could be the odd man out on the Redskins roster. Few believed Gaffney would be the man looking for a new home next season.
Yet, on Wednesday, Gaffney surprisingly revealed he was told he didn’t need to show up at Redskins Park for this week’s voluntary workouts and that the team was actively seeking a trade for him.
“I loved the offense last year and felt like I did some great things and thought I did everything I was asked to do,” Gaffney told 106.7 The Fan’s LaVar Arrington and Chad Dukes. “I was brought in to compliment Santana Moss and ended up being the leading receiver in all the categories.”
After being acquired from the Denver Broncos in a trade last year, Gaffney started in 15 games, caught 68 passes for 947 yards and had five touchdowns.
The 31-year-old found himself in the middle of a cyber controversy last week after a series of profanity laced tweets were sent from his Twitter account. The messages were directed at his wife and Oakland Raiders defensive back Lito Shephard.
The veteran receiver claims his account was hacked and was emphatic that he rarely used Twitter following last season’s incident with a Dallas Cowboys fan that went viral.
“Why would I go and try to tell one of my best friends that I want to fight him on Twitter?” Gaffney asked LaVar and Dukes.
Gaffney also said he has no idea who was responsible and that he has closed his Twitter account for good.
Some believe there was a direct link between the tweets and the Redskins decision to move on without him. However, team officials told Gaffney the two were unrelated.
“I got a chance to talk to Coach (Mike) Shanahan and he said it was just a coincidence and that they were actually looking a couple of weeks ago into making a move for me,” Gaffney said.
Even so, the receiver was a bit skeptical.
“I didn’t hear about it until the day after the Twitter thing,” Gaffney reiterated. “So, if there was a coincidence, it really was a coincidence. I heard I didn’t have to show up the day after that Twitter thing.”
Had the Redskins decided to keep Gaffney around, he would have been fighting to retain his spot in the starting lineup with the free agent additions. It would have been an opportunity he would have relished, having thrived under similar circumstances while playing for the New England Patriots.
“[Everybody] was saying there’s no room for Gaffney,” he recalled of the year the team went on a receiver spending spree. “I still went out there working and put up big numbers that year and was a big part of that team that went 18-1. “
Gaffney is confident enough in his abilities to feel he would have been able to at least repeat his Patriot perseverance in DC if given what he called “a fair shake.”
“But after talking to them, it was just pretty much put to me in words like I’m not going to be there,” he said.
Gaffney, who comes from an NFL pedigree, understands professional football is a business and is trying to distance himself from the notion the Redskins’ decision to trade him was personal. Nonetheless he finds himself severely disappointed.
“I’m just puzzled by it,” he said. “I felt like I was one of the guys that did show up. I showed up to practice. I showed up to every game and I never complained. I played through injuries and showed up week in and week out. And maybe [Garcon and Morgan] will make the team better, but I feel like given a shot I can still win back my spot. But it seems like I’m not going to be given that shot.”