Something bizarre is clearly happening with the Redskins and Su’a Cravens, but it’s difficult to establish the ‘what.’
So let’s try to work backwards.
On Monday, the Redskins announced they were placing Cravens on the Reserve/Left Squad list, putting to bed weeks of speculation about his immediate future with the team.
At the end of its formal statement, the organization included this additional dagger: “We sincerely hope that Su’a uses this time away from the club to reflect upon whether or not he’d like to resume his career in the National Football League in 2018.”
One day earlier, Cravens — reportedly still in Los Angeles — did not appear at the Redskins-Rams game, this, despite appearing on the sideline with his alma mater USC one day earlier for a game played against Texas at the same stadium.
NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport — who through it all has apparently been given a heaping plate of bad information by someone involved with the Redskins — reported early Sunday morning that Cravens was expected back at Redskins Park earlier this week, likely Tuesday.
Here’s what Rapoport reported on NFL Network:
Su’a Cravens is expected back at the team facility. That is slated to be early this week, likely Tuesday. Still dealing with a health issue, so it’s not like this is going to be wrapped up when you snap your fingers, but obviously a very good sign that he is returning to the team, I’m told he still has a big-time passion to play, wants to be back on the football field, and has been communicating with Jay Gruden personally. I know his agent has been talking to members of the Redskins brass. And Su’a Cravens actually spent time hanging with Doug Williams, the team executive, last night during the USC game.
Only problem, the Redskins ended his season before he could arrive.
“His agent met with members of the Redskins brass when they were in LA over the weekend,” Rapoport explained to 106.7 The Fan’s Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier Thursday. “That was either Friday or Saturday. Discussed a couple things. Message was relayed that he was going to show up early in the week — I believe the plan was on Tuesday — and then he went to the USC-Texas game, saw Doug Williams on the sideline. Chatted with him for a little bit. I’m not sure what those conversations entailed, but the two obviously talked and Cravens was there rooting on his former team.”
“Redskins play on Sunday. Cravens was actually not there,” Rapoport went on. “But the plan was to show up. I’m not sure what… Let me say this: He was going to show up, and as I talked about on Sunday, that’s definitely not the end of the story. There’s a lot of things going on here from a personal health standpoint, from a personal life standpoint. This was definitely not an open-and-shut case. But before he had the opportunity to actually show up, the Redskins put him on the Leave Squad list and end his season. I’m sure it was extremely frustrating for Cravens, but that’s where we are.”
“Yeah, and he made his bed, by the way, by leaving the team,” Paulsen said. “Now, I’m with you. I want him to get help and whatever needs to happen should happen, and he’s not necessarily the bad guy in all of this, but he left the team.”
“No, but you said it well,” Rapoport said. “I also hope he betters himself and, personally, what’s going on, I hope he comes out the right side of this. The problem, as a player, though, is you really don’t have a ton of recourse when you leave the team. It’s unfortunate, but it’s what it is.”
“I’m not going to say you lose rights as a player,” he added, “but once you leave the team, there’s a lot of things that go into it. For instance, a team can essentially do this. They can just put you on this list and end your season. Plus there’s the what do his current teammates think about it, which, I think we know there’s a lot of teammates that weren’t happy. So I really hope he comes out the right side of this, but it’s a very, very complex situation.”
Paulsen relayed that he had spoken to people in the building at Redskins Park, players included, and “they are not happy that he was in the stadium one day earlier for a college football game with some of his former teammates at USC, but some of those guys he doesn’t even know, and then the next day in the same stadium didn’t show up when the Redskins were playing.”
Asked whether that was a factor in the team’s decision to end Cravens’ season, Rapoport said, “I don’t know. Mainly because, if I was a teammate, I would definitely say, ‘Well, why weren’t you there to cheer us on?'”
“But I don’t actually know how that works,” he said. “Like, he left the team. He obviously was not in good standing, how would he then be on the Redskins sideline? Would they give him a pass? It’s not like he can just walk on. How would that work? I don’t actually know.
“If you’re someone who has fallen out of favor with the team, left the team and is trying to fight your way back, do they say, ‘Alright, cool. Come hang out and chill on the sidelines,’? Like, I don’t know. Would he have to buy a ticket and sit in the stands? Just functionally, logistically, I don’t know how that would work. I know it doesn’t look great that he was there one night and he wasn’t there the next day, but it’s much easier to get a ticket to USC than a pass for the Redskins, the team that you left.”
“I would say it’s pretty easy to get a Rams ticket though,” Rouhier quipped. “They had a bunch of seats empty in that stadium.”
In the interest of transparency, here are some other recent Redskins stories Rapoport whiffed on, including one draft-night bombshell.
Without knowing what’s really going on, it appears either that sideline chat with Williams, or Cravens’ no-showing the following morning, informed the Redskins of which direction Cravens was leaning and their decision to end his season. Both is an option, too.
Whatever it was, if Cravens really was planning a visit to Redskins Park Tuesday, the Redskins cancelled the trip for him before it began.
We’ll end it on another few stories which may or may not be relevant to the Cravens outcome.