Did Washington do the right thing by ending Su'a Cravens’s season? Or should the team have done more for its young safety?
Yesterday, Washington ruled out safety Su'a Cravens for the 2017 season by putting him on the Reserve/Left Squad list. That move came a couple weeks after Cravens told the team that he wanted to retire on the eve of the regular season (he’d previously considered quitting in college). At the time, management responded by giving him four weeks to potentially change his mind. Just this weekend, NFL.com reported that Cravens planned to return to the team today. He had spoken briefly with Washington senior VP of player personnel Doug Williams while attending Saturday's USC-Texas game and tweeted support for his teammates as they won in the Coliseum the following afternoon. But he won’t be suiting up until 2018 at the earliest.
I suppose most will explain this in one of two narratives:
1. Cravens was never committed to football, and Washington needed to move on rather than letting him continue to be a distraction.
2. The bumbling Washington brain trust committed another blunder, this time blindsiding a player who was trying to right his life off the field.
The reality is probably somewhere between those two sentiments. Coaches need to know who is on their roster going forward, and the 22-year-old can use the time to chart a clear path forward. Remember, a Washington legend once took a year off because his heart wasn't in the sport.
After leaving the team, Cravens said on Snapchat, "I think I need to follow what makes me happy." At the time, running back Chris Thompson was asked by The Washington Post about Cravens's situation. “It’s way bigger than football,” Thompson said. And yet, the only meaningful sentence of the team's statement yesterday read, "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." As if this whole thing was a matter of want-to rather than larger issues.
This story isn't done. Jay Gruden and players will be asked about Cravens in their next press conferences. There's also a chance Cravens still shows up at the team facility, reportedly. Much remains unresolved: Does Cravens have a future in the NFL? How will the banged-up secondary move forward? And Washington still has time to explain why this was the right move for all parties involved. But one question stands out as the storyline develops. Will a professional football team publicly recognize that one of its employees has priorities beyond the sport?
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NOW ON THE MMQB: Jenny Vrentas dissects the Lions win ... Andy Benoit provides the truth about Jared Goff ... Andrew Brandt takes a look at Roger Goodell’s job security ... Peter King argues that the Cowboys should discipline Ezekiel Elliott ... and more in our archive.
LATER TODAY ON THE MMQB: The staff updates The MMQB Power Poll ... Albert Breer checks in on rising prospect Mason Rudolph ... Jonathan Jones talks LeSean McCoy ... and more. Stay tuned.
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1. Lions 24, Giants 10. Evidently, New York's offensive woes went beyond a lack of Odell Beckham Jr. in Week 1. Big Blue finished 4-of-12 on third downs and had just 55 rushing yards. Detroit, meanwhile, stands alone atop the NFC North. It'll face Atlanta next week, though. In the meantime, Lions fans should check out this story on "how Jim Bob Cooter evolved from Tecmo Super Bowl wizard to NFL coordinator."
2. Younghoe Koo, 1-for-4 on NFL field goals, will remain the Chargers’ kicker, Anthony Lynn announced on Tuesday. So far, Koo's struggles have earned San Diego residents a bunch of free tacos.
3. In simpler Washington news, one of Jay Gruden's favorite players finally had a breakout performance on Sunday.
5. A slight damper on the Falcons’ celebration from Sunday: All-Pro edge rusher Vic Beasley will miss at least one week with a hamstring strain. Hopefully he'll be back in time for Atlanta's October game against the Patriots.
6. DeShone Kizer says that, before Sunday, the last time he had an issue with migraines was in high school. Props to Hue Jackson for pulling him from the game to get checked out by the medical staff.
7. After an embarrassing weekend, an NFL spokesman predictably says, "We remain confident that the city of Los Angeles can support in a very strong way two franchises." But the city's mayor says, meh, one would have been enough.
8. Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said he would talk to Ezekiel Elliott about the running back's lack of effort on a couple plays in Sunday's humiliating loss at Denver, but ultimately Garrett defended his star player. Also on Monday, a judge upheld Elliott's ability to continue playing while his case against the NFL regarding his suspension moves through the court system.
10. Dan Wetzel provides a smart explanation of "Why an NFL franchise in London isn't necessary."
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Not football, but it'd be criminal for me not to share this story of how “Friends” became the unlikeliest of hits among Major League Baseball's Latino players.