Q: What were your reaction to LaVar's comments?
A: This is important, for everyone to know. It's extremely important for us. I'll take that from A to Z. One of the most important things for me here, one of the first discussions I had with Dan was about our medical team. There's no one as a medical team as capable as what we have.
They're some of the top people we have in sports medicine. And our training department here. Last year when LaVar got hurt, from the Redskins standpoint he's hugely important to this team. It's personal to us. We want what's best for them. Here's the point. I know from my standpoint, never ever do we encourage anyone to play when they're hurt. That's over with in modern-day sports. I wouldn't be a part of it and neither would our training department. We work in concert with the doctors.
You have someone such as LaVar who is very important to the Redskins and his future is important. When LaVar got hurt we thought it would be a five-week injury. To his credit he tried to play in the Giants game and couldn't.
Sometimes you can play on those things. In this case we felt it was time to have surgery. Sent him to Dr. Andrews who is one of the best in the world. From that point on he's been involved in every part of LaVar's rehab. We kept him active because we felt he would bounce back at some point in there. Then we detect three weeks after the surgery that he had a bone bruise. How that could happen, there's no real medical reason why it would happen. When it shows up you have to be extremely cautious and we were. We took the cautious approach and said we have to rest this for quite a while. During that period, the first part of the year, and several times in there, LaVar got upset with me because he said, 'I want to play.' And I'm saying to him is what's best for you and your future, we have to be cautious with this. I know you don't like it, you want to play. You've got a champions heart. We can't do it until you're ready to go. With three weeks to go, everyone said we're at a point where he could play. He played, he played a limited amount. We tried to play the next week and after that game his knee didn't do as well. After that game we said, 'We know you want to play. We think it's better that you don't play in the last game and start on your offseason rehab.'
What happened in the offseason, LaVar would have some good days and make progress and then have days where he didn't feel as good. It was about 13, 14 days ago he came in and said I had a fantastic day. He came in the following Monday and he didn't feel as good. At that point we flew LaVar back to Alabama to Dr. Andrews. At that point he felt it would be good to put a small device in there to look at the knee joint. What he saw in there was scar tissue and small particles that he felt we should take out and clean out. The good news on that, I talked to him right after the surgery for 45 minutes, what we thought LaVar needed to do for rehab. After we went over the review of the surgery, the good parts are the following: when he looked at the bone bruise and he looked at the joint and every other part of it, he looks like he has a good healthy knee. The particles were causing irritation, which would explain why he'd have good days and bad days. None of us wanted to have that again. Then Jim said we wanted to take a conservative approach and put him on crutches for one to two weeks. Then he said it would be good to spend two months without him doing any hard running. He can do other things. But in that way he'll be ready for preseason and we think he'll be ready for next year. That is the way that went. If anything we were overconservative and we err on that side. I don't know if LaVar was upset. I know he doesn't like the idea that he's had two setbacks with his knee. Neither do we. We don't like it. But sometimes there are things you have to deal with.
Q: Were you surprised by the comments?
A: Yeah, I was. I don't know if he was upset by the current setback. I don't know. I haven't had a chance to visit with him about that. I don't know. I talked to him last night on phone and I recanted some of the things that happened last year and he agreed with me.
Q: Is it your experience with athletes of that level that they get this frustrated by these types of setbacks?
A: I think there's a total frustration on LaVar's part as well as ours. I know it's frustarted him. It's something, a bone bruise how that cropped up I don't know. There's no medical reason why they sometimes do show up.Things like that have frustrated him and frustrated us. He probably just vented yesterday. I'm anxious to talk to him. But I think he knows every single thing that happened last year. He knows himself. Frustration has set in because he's been hurt for so long and hasn't been able to be part of the team the way he wants to be.
Q: Do you think part of his frustration that his role has changed because you guys did so well without him last year?
A: I would say he's extremely important to the Redskins. In today's football money is not the important thing it's the person. Certainly LaVar and the amount of the cap devoted to him shows how important he is to us. We'll do everything we can to get him back. We've erred on the side of being cautious, very cautious. It doesn't make good sense to jeopardize his chances of playing a long time with the Redskins for a short-time reason, to put him back in the game. It's frustrating for him and that probably motivated him yesterday to say some things.
Q: Do you think he's insecure with this staff?
A: I hope not. We're proud of our defensive staff and the defense played well without him last year. We've all been frustrated to a certain extent by his injury. And for a lot of our other guys. Matt Bowen was off to one of the best starts anyone had and he got hurt. Went through something with Phillip Daniels and you see these guys and they totally frustrated. It's understandable. They get upset. But hopefully in LaVar's case we let him know how important he is. There's a lot he can do now mentally and our goal is, and Dr. Andrews' goal by taking a conservative approach, is that we would have him back for the regular season.
Q: With AP not here and LaVar's situation, does this factor into the draft?
A: You would always be looking at areas where you feel like if you had a loss and you want to be deep at linebacker. We have some options there. You never know what will happen in the draft. I don't count on the draft because so much can happen there. We're looking at every opportunity we can to help you at linebacker.
Q: Do you have more information on the grievance?
A: From a Redskins standpoint, I checked up on this this morning, but setting the date is up to the union and the league. We're ready from this side of it, we're ready to present what would be the Redskins' statement on the issues and to be at that meeting. But we don't set that. It's out of our hands and we certainly haven't been the ones to push it back.
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