Everyone seems to have an opinion on Su’a Cravens right now. Other than the future of Kirk Cousins, the second-biggest Redskins topic this offseason has now become, “What should the team do with Cravens?”
The issue is, very few people seem to know what exactly happened last season.
Why did he walk away? Why did the Redskins decide not to let him come back? Does the rest of the team support his decision?
Junior Galette has said he’d welcome him back. DeAngelo Hall said the same to 106.7 The Fan, but even he admitted he didn’t know the whole story, and wasn’t sure how other Redskins in the locker room might feel.
Retrospective: The All-Too-Predictable Cousins Ending
Enter former Skins linebacker Robert Henson, who, upon hearing Erin Hawksworth and me talking about Cravens’ future on The Fan, decided to call in with far more detail on the situation than we’ve heard to this point.
“As far as him being accepted back by his teammates or the organization, everybody except the front office was on the same page about that,” Henson said. “Su’a walked away because of his health, and it was a mistrust between him and the Redskins’ training staff. They told him one thing, it ended up being worse than what was actually told to him, and he decided to walk away just from that standpoint after talking with his family.”
It’s not the first time we’ve heard about issues between the Redskins’ training staff and players. There were rumblings of that this past season, and going back to past years as well.
As Henson also pointed out, Cravens’ concussion symptoms date back to his Instagram post where he said he would have to wear glasses now for the rest of his life.
“All that stuff wasn’t an act. He was still having concussion symptoms well after. Even into training camp, when he was hitting and banging, he was still having those symptoms, so he decided to just walk away.”
We know Cravens received treatment and was cleared from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center for head injuries in December, and whenever the word “concussion” is thrown around now in the NFL, people are much more cautious. And rightfully so.
Henson added: “There’s a perception in the fraternity — and I call anybody who’s ever played in the NFL fraternity brothers — there’s this perception and there’s just this reality, when a guy walks away because of health, or whatever the case may be, or his long-term health, it’s widely accepted by any and everybody. And if that guy decided to come back, it’s widely accepted by any and everybody in that locker room.”
So why the questions about Cravens’ future and the worry about his reception in the locker room? Wouldn’t everyone understand that concussions are something no one should take lightly?
“There’s one thing that I will offer, that you guys talked about, about the front office,” said Henson. “Now they don’t know what to do with him. There’s still a mistrust between him and the front office, too. So, it’s kind of a little bit of bad blood, and everybody knows that Bruce, everybody that played knows that Bruce is all about exacting revenge on his terms. You can tell by the Kirk Cousins situation.”
Oh, well that might explain it. We’re circling back to that whole part of the organization again, huh?
Look, I get it, it’s easy to tell one side of the story, and pile on a Redskins front office which already has a terrible reputation from past mistakes. We’ve spent plenty of time talking about that on The Fan.
But, Henson, who’s still local and specifically mentioned current players he’s close with, said something that’s still very believable, simply because we’ve seen examples of this exact attitude from the organization in the past. There have been other reports just recently about the front office wanting some sort of revenge in the Cousins situation as well.
When ego and power are combined with insecurity, irrational decisions are made. We see it all the time, not just in sports, but likely in whatever business you work in too.
Henson added that he did think Cravens wanted to be back with the Redskins.
We reached out to Cravens’ reps to see if he wanted to tell the story from his side, but as of now, he wants to focus on working out and plans to talk when he’s ready.
One thing we know, this relationship is definitely tainted. Whether or not it can be repaired is something that will take some time to figure out.
Maybe the Redskins need to use the Nationals’ “Circle of Trust” idea. That might help.
As we talked about on the show, the Redskins would benefit from at least bringing him into training camp if he wants to come back. Trading him won’t get you much value compared to giving him a shot to make a comeback this summer.
Cravens has three years left on his rookie contract, because the 2017 season “tolled” toward his contract status, meaning the year never counted toward his four-year deal.
If the team is all for it, and Cravens is all for it, shouldn’t the Redskins front office be all for it too?
This team needs young talent, and Cravens is still that. We’ll just have to wait and see how this plays out this offseason.
Nick Ashooh is an on-air personality for 106.7 The Fan. He previously worked at WTEM for eight years. Follow him on Twitter: @NickAshooh