Fred Davis has come full circle.
His NFL career got off to a rocky start when he overslept and was late for a minicamp practice in his rookie year. Now his tenure with the Redskins may be in jeopardy for an inability to stay awake during meetings.
Davis falling asleep during meetings is not a rumor or whispered accusation. He admitted it on Wednesday.
“I’ve never slept through a whole meeting but I’ve nodded off,” Davis said. “Everyone nods off. It’s dark in there. You’re watching film. You nod off. You wake up, get something to drink, go back. I’ve done that. I think everybody’s done that.”
Since nobody who is not a player or coach has access to those meetings it is impossible to judge Davis’ assertion that “everybody’s done that.” But you would think that someone in Davis’ position, a player on a one-year contract fighting playmaking rookie Jordan Reed for playing time, would drink coffee, down an energy drink, stand up and stretch, or do whatever it takes to stay awake during these meetings.
Perhaps Davis doesn’t realize that he’s competing with Reed for active status and playing time. It appears that Reed does. On Monday afternoon he was the only player on the field, putting in extra work running and catching passes from the JUGS machine.
I don’t want to be too hard on Davis here. He’s a talented player and he has always been a good guy to talk to in the locker room. But he’s not doing himself any favors by admitting that he falls asleep when he’s being given important information about his job and by saying that he thinks that his inactive status is tied to money.
According to reports, Davis has a clause in his contract that pays him $500,000 if he is on the 46-man active list for at least 12 games. He has been inactive for three games so far this year so if he doesn’t dress for two more the Redskins will not owe him the bonus.
Asked if he thought that the bonus had anything to do with his inactive status, Davis said yes. “Probably. It’s a business,” he said. “So I’m sure that plays a factor.”
Mike Shanahan’s press conference was held shortly after Davis talked to the media and the coach denied that the bonus was a factor in his decisions regarding the player.
“One thing I try to do as a head coach now as compared to when I was in Denver—I don’t look at any of those incentives,” he said. “I keep myself away from those things. I didn’t know that until I was just told about two minutes ago that that was a clause for those reasons. I don’t make decisions based on money.”
Whether or not what Shanahan is saying is accurate—he has admitted to bending the truth at times when it suits his purposes—there is still no reason for Davis to say that the money is a factor. It makes it seem like he is deflecting responsibility for the situation away from himself. And that is not a frame of mind that is going to get him back on the field.
There may be more to this than meets the eye. But now Davis has had his chance to tell his side of the story and we have heard Shanahan’s version and the view from here is that Davis doesn’t come out of it looking too good.