Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

09 Feb 2010

The Lavar Arrington Rant

As requested by several people today, here's a link to the LaVar Arrington rant on his DC radio show yesterday. Conveniently, he did it right after the final TWIQ of the season was filed.

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 09 Feb 2010

33 comments, Last at 12 Feb 2010, 1:40pm by Dean


by bravehoptoad :: Tue, 02/09/2010 - 2:39pm

Seems more like some fine speechifying (or rhetoric, whatever) than a rant. I got goosebumps just reading the thing.

by TXNiner :: Tue, 02/09/2010 - 3:03pm

Reading it is no comparison to hearing him. If you really want to get the full effect, listen to the audio.

by Dean :: Tue, 02/09/2010 - 3:09pm

He's still one of the most overrated players of the past decade. But that doesn't mean he's wrong.

by Phil Osopher :: Tue, 02/09/2010 - 3:55pm

When he was good, he was good, but the injuries, coaching weirdness, and age derailed his late career

Portis is one of those Univ of Miami date rapists that think if they are the center of attention that everyone loves them.

Although for a few years in fantasy he was a great value pick.....not this year though

by Dean :: Tue, 02/09/2010 - 5:14pm

I think you're getting confused. The date rapists went to Florida State. Or Miami of Ohio if you don't believe Big Ben's story.

by Dice :: Tue, 02/09/2010 - 3:41pm

I never cared much for Lavar, but I believe him over Portis.

by DrewTS (not verified) :: Tue, 02/09/2010 - 4:08pm

I love the list of names in the first part. I already knew that Snyder loves to collect names, but it's so much funnier to see it laid out like that. I never even knew about Andre Reed.

by Bill Prudden (not verified) :: Tue, 02/09/2010 - 4:29pm

It really does speak to Clinton's lack of credibility that Lavar would have, with most of us fans, the benefit of the doubt.

It is also a bit sad becuase Clinton seems to me a 100% guy on the field on Sundays, but cannot even begin to grasp that the three hours on Sunday are only a small piece of the puzzle.

* I wish I had been in Redskins HQ when Lavar called in saying essentially "let me be the GM, you can re-do my contract if you guarantee the contracts for players X, Y, and Z". If they had not already decided to pull the plug on him, I am sure that would have done it...


PS Why s the Captcha "But bouyance"?

by capt. Anonymous (not verified) :: Tue, 02/09/2010 - 5:27pm

Gotta love Lavar's passion. He might not have been able to put it all together and become an all time great but he was definitely one of the most feared hitters for a few years. Noone could ever question the passion that he played with. He and Portis have alot in common in that respect.

by Kibbles :: Tue, 02/09/2010 - 5:50pm

Wow, Lavar Arrington is incredibly articulate and well spoken. I'd always heard the stereotypes about how he was "too stupid to play in Williams' defense", so this comes as a huge surprise. Just another reason why you shouldn't listen to gossip.

On an unrelated note, Lavar Arrington (or "LB 56") made the best defensive end in Madden '04. Guy was a beast, and since the game considered him an LB even if you had him playing DE, it always based his contract demands on things like tackles more than on sacks, meaning he was also the cheapest elite DE in the game. I'd always do the franchise draft and get Arrington at DE, and Dawkins and Ed Reed at CB.

by Raiderjoe :: Tue, 02/09/2010 - 9:31pm

Wow, Lavar Arrington is incredibly articulate and well spoken. I'd always heard the stereotypes about how he was "too stupid to play in Williams' defense", so this comes as a huge surprise. Just another reason why you shouldn't listen to gossip.

awlays seemed smart compared to otgher football players.

Not sure who said arringtontoo stupdi.probably Cowobys fans. Lots of dim bulbs in fan base. Joe Patermo liked Arrington a lot if recall it correlclty. Arringgton always good for interviews but on field was too much of freelancer. If compare Arroington to colorer you say he guy that like to color outside of lines.
Hard to get arirngton to play within stuctured defense.

by drobviousso :: Wed, 02/10/2010 - 12:54pm

Joe Pa loved Arrington. He was also considered by some to be the best Penn State Linebacker Ever while he was there.

by Tracing plan (not verified) :: Tue, 02/09/2010 - 6:21pm

Lavar's right, but on the other hand, he was really a mediocre player despite his physical talents. He couldn't cover, couldn't maintain responsibilities, had no discipline, constantly fooled. What does it say that two of the best d. coordinators of the era, Marvin Lewis and Gregg Williams did the following with him--a)blitz him every down--netting 11 sacks, meaning he'd be out of many plays but at least never leaving a void where he was supposed to be, and b)bench him.

by Mr Skinner :: Wed, 02/10/2010 - 5:12am

You could say the same about the other LB56. Point is if he is used properly in a team he was a fantastic player

by Dean :: Wed, 02/10/2010 - 10:40am

"Point is if he is used properly in a team he was a fantastic player"

No he wasn't. ESPN tried very hard to sell people on that idea, but it simply wasn't true. He was heavily marketed, but he was a guy who would make 1 big play only to screw up 10 routine plays.

If you watched sportscenter or played video games, you loved the guy. If you actually watched games, you understood just how terribly overrated he was.

If he could play, he still would be playing. He washed out because he couldn't make the routine play, not due to injury, and he's still a young man.

by Kibbles :: Wed, 02/10/2010 - 10:41pm

I will say this: outside of Randy Gradishar, I've never seen anyone as good at timing his leap and meeting the ballcarrier in mid-air in goal line situations. When Arrington's instincts were right and his athletic ability was on full display, he was really a sight to behold.

by Dean :: Fri, 02/12/2010 - 1:40pm

That kinda re-enforces the point I was trying to make.

You'd see him on sportscenter flying through the air to fill the hole at the goal line. But you wouldn't see the 10 routine plays he'd screwed up when the other team drove down the field.

by Alexander :: Tue, 02/09/2010 - 7:51pm

Its a little too long, but he sounds like a great person to hire as a coach.

by Dice :: Tue, 02/09/2010 - 10:34pm

LaVar never seemed stupid, even when I wasn't a big fan of his. Didn't have football smarts, sorta the anti-Bradshaw.

by Mr Skinner :: Wed, 02/10/2010 - 5:14am

Brilliant speech, calling it a rant does not do it justice- I urge everyone to listen to it. the following lines were what I found most impressive:

"You have a duty that you must uphold every single time you put on your pads and every single time you hang them up. It does not stop when you leave the field nor does it begin when you walk on it. These are things that you take with you for the rest of your life. This is much bigger than football or any other sport that anybody may play, this is about your life."

by Kevin from Philly :: Wed, 02/10/2010 - 9:56am

Loved it, in general. One thing though - telling the GM you'll restructure your deal if he'll guarantee the contracts of the other defensive players isn't leadership - it's grandstanding. There's no way in hell a GM would guarantee contracts in that situation, and Lavar (or his agent) surely would know that.

by Dave0 :: Wed, 02/10/2010 - 5:29pm

why not?

by masoch (not verified) :: Wed, 02/10/2010 - 3:29pm

You know what? As a GM, in that situation... if you actually wanted LaVar, and the other guys (as opposed to already knowing that you're going to cut them for performance or compensation vs. production issues), why WOULDN'T you make that agreement?

I mean, if LaVar is willing to give up say, $2 mil in money for the year question, that you'd be *guaranteed* to pay out on the first day of the season, why not agree to pay 2 mil guaranteed to the guys that you sign with that money? Doesn't seem so harebrained of an idea to me. You just trade X dollars of guaranteed LaVar money for X dollars of other players. It boils down to the Redskins didn't WANT LaVar and/or the other players.

by perly :: Wed, 02/10/2010 - 6:00pm

Of course the Redskins didn't want Lavar. He was coming off a knee injury that basically ended his career, he blamed the team, the coaches and the owner for his inability to maintain assignments, and he filed a grievance accusing the Redskins of stealing from him in a completely implausible manner while hiring attorneys to defend his agents' documented incompetence and malpractice in the affair.

He was a good football player who never had the discipline to be great, and burned every single bridge in Washington on his way out of town. It still baffles me that people continue to take his bizarre version of events seriously.

But he didn't ask for the Skins to guarantee $2M to those other guys. He asked the Skins to guarantee their contracts, i.e. the artificial end-year figures for guys who were essentially dead weight (specifically, then 32 year old DE Renaldo Wynn). So when the Skins were scrambling to absorb the dead money hits that would accrue in the potential last capped year in 2006, they could do one of two things:

a) restructure contracts of players (Samuels, Thomas, Jansen, Moss, etc.) who did not place absurd preconditions on negotiations that involved no reduction in current or future earnings; or

b) work with a declining malcontent to make him essentially uncuttable for future years while crippling the teams' future flexibility by guaranteeing outsized salaries to players who would be well past their prime before they could collect.

I'm no Vinny Cerrato fan, but even he couldn't have been a big enough idiot to choose the second option.

by R. Carney (not verified) :: Wed, 02/10/2010 - 7:12pm

I'm with Perly on this one. I'm 25, so just old enough to remember the overrated, undisciplined quality of play that LaVar brought to the table, and that he indeed wasn't worth a fraction of what he was getting, after all those are the type of players who willingly restructure. Don't let the eloquence of speech and rhetoric fool you. It's easy to be swept away by a passionate speech and correct grammar in a message that's supposed to be for the kids. But let's remember the actions and the quality of play of the player first.

by R. Carney (not verified) :: Wed, 02/10/2010 - 7:15pm

PS NO team...NO TEAM lets a 27 year old stud blitzing linebacker escape to a hated division foe like Washington let LaVar escape to New York. he was decent at best his first 2 years and then was done...footnote...afterthought. He's 31 and done, Ray Lewis is close to 35 and still prime time.

by mjb :: Wed, 02/10/2010 - 11:07pm

Yeah, an NFC East team (Philadelphia) would never allow a stud LB (Jeremiah Trotter) escape to play for a hated division foe (Washington). That would be dumb, it is not like this scenario is likely or would even probably happen on more than once (Trotter to D.C.)...twice (Trotter back to Philly)...or even three times (Arrington to NYG) in the span of five years.

That's the Business of Sports, players are assets and are treated as such. The wants and desires of players rarely affect how teams treat them.

by R. Carney (not verified) :: Thu, 02/11/2010 - 11:16am

What I mean was that Arrington was done. Washongton would not have let him go if he were productive or a star. Trotter is the exception of teams letting good young talent go, Arrington was the rule of guys being washed up a pawned off to other teasm, even if it is inter division.

by C (not verified) :: Thu, 02/11/2010 - 3:43pm

Lavar Arrington was one of the few Redskins I liked and respected, B Mitch, Darrell Green... That's looking at the person over looking at the colors they wear.

Lavar Arrington was a beast when he came into the league. Amazing amazing physical skills, there was a buzz around him like no other Redskins I have ever seen. The stories about him got more and more exagerated.

but the guy did literally end Troy Aikman's career on a hit.

I like Arrington, but he WAS overrated by the end of his stay. He couldn't play zone defense, he took poor angles, and too often couldn't make the routine plays. As a Giants fan, I was very excited for him to come to our team, but it was more injury and disappointment.

Clinton Portis on the other hand is a fool. The guy runs his mouth, puts out the teams dirty laundry all over the airwaves all the time... and he's dumb as a rock. I can't believe the stuff that comes out of his mouth...

Concerning Michael Vick...
" I don't see what the whole problem is... It's his yard, his dogs... (Chris Samuels laughing)"
But Mr. Portis, it's a felony
" Well it must not be a big one".

Him talking about the in house fighting and disfunction of the Redskins is equally stupid. He was on the Radio talking about how the Defensive coordinator doesn't talk to the defensive backs position coach, how Al Saunders and Gibbs had friction, how Gibbs liked him, but Saunders didn't... I mean you don't go out to the media and say these things.

Portis is an idiot.

by MarkB (not verified) :: Thu, 02/11/2010 - 10:37pm

Brother certainly can talk. He did seem to flip between "it's all about honor and respect" and "I was the highest paid player." I didn't see him play much, but he didn't seem to fulfill the hype in any way.

by Tim Gerheim :: Fri, 02/12/2010 - 11:12am

I enjoyed it, for all of the reasons mentioned, even if it is a, let's say, biased version of the story. But, the times being what they are, this I can't cotton to:

"For the same injury that a man stayed out four weeks for, how short our memories are, I had the same injury. Knocked unconscious in a game. Went in the locker room, got myself together, and oh yeah, I came back out and intercepted a ball against the Carolina Panthers and got a touchdown that some would say helped turn that season around, where we won eight games straight. A concussion. That's what I was diagnosed with, a concussion."

It's the same thing Hines Ward got flak for when he talked about Roethlisberger letting himself get held out with a concussion, and it's a big reason rules and doctors alone won't fix the NFL's concussion problem.

by C (not verified) :: Fri, 02/12/2010 - 12:50pm

I don't think you penalize a guy for sitting with a concussion, but I do think you give Arrington a bonus for playing with the concussion. It's borderline crazy/courageous.

You want to talk about something a working man can respect. How about going to work, sick, tired, injured in a physically demanding sport and still giving it your all.

The older NFL players laugh at today's players... The old guys used to come out with broken bones, guys that were honestly really hurt, and today you have guys are sitting out for "turf toe". Clinton Portis is a guy that is known to hate practice, he'll tell you he hates it, he admits trying to get out of training camp etc.

Honestly, everybody is hurt for every game, nobody is 100%. Nobody in college is 100%, everybody is bruised, knees, ankles, shoulders, it wears on you. I look at the consecutive games played streak by Brett Favre or London Fletcher with nothing but amazement. Brett Favre wasn't playing in some dome, he was playing QB on the frozen Tundra. London Fletcher was making 100 tackles a season as far back as they eye can see and he's started I believe every game the last decade.. hitting running backs, tight ends, having 320 pound guards coming after him... It's amazing.

by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Fri, 02/12/2010 - 1:25pm

I agree with most of what you said, except that I have to say that "turf toe" is a real injury. It means you tore one or more ligaments in your foot. Granted, it's a pain management issue and you can play through it, but there's no way you'll have 100% of you speed and quickness or plant strength.

When guys sit with turf toe, it's either because their effectiveness would be greatly reduced if they played, or so that the injury can heal faster than if they played through it.