Arrington awaits outcome to contract grievance

Updated: March 28, 2004, 5:36 PM ET
Associated Press

ASHBURN, Va. -- LaVar Arrington had a conciliatory tone toward Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder on Saturday, even as the linebacker awaits the outcome of a grievance over $6.5 million he feels is missing from his contract.

"We're grown-ups," Arrington said following practice on the second day of minicamp. "I've had my time to be upset, and it's not going to get me anywhere.

"The most mature thing to do is see where we can go with it. That doesn't mean I'm going to be weak about it, but I'm willing to see what type of resolution we can get out of this whole thing."

Arrington contends the Redskins shortchanged him when he signed a nine-year, $68 million contract in December. Arrington claims the deal, which was completed under a tight deadline for salary cap reasons, is missing a $6.5 million signing bonus for the year 2006.

Arrington filed a grievance through the NFL offices earlier this month, which will eventually lead to a hearing before a neutral arbitrator.

In recent interviews, the three-time Pro Bowl linebacker has spoken of betrayed trust, saying the dispute had caused a rift between himself and Snyder.

On Saturday, however, he was in better spirits, having redirected his energies into two spirited days of practice under new coach Joe Gibbs. Arrington said he had felt an obligation to speak out over what he perceived was an injustice _ and that he intends to let the arbitration process take its course _ but he stressed anew a commitment to the Redskins.

"The more I think about it, and the more I just look around, I really don't want to be anywhere else," Arrington said. "I really love the fans. For $6.5 million, it's not worth my relationship with the fans. I don't want that to be the legacy that I leave behind. I really want to reconcile whatever differences there are."

Asked who needs to make the first move to reconcile his relationship with Snyder, Arrington said: "I think I just made the first move."

A spokesman for Snyder said the owner had no comment.

On the field, Arrington couldn't have been happier. Defensive coach Gregg Williams has moved Arrington back to the weak side, the position where the linebacker was a pass-rushing terror at Penn State. Williams has also stressed a speed-based, heavy-blitzing mentality.

"You can tell by the way my shirt looks," said Arrington, wearing a sweat-soaked Penn State T-shirt. "I think we've done more running the last two days than we probably did in the first camp alone last year.

"It's just the whole total atmosphere. We're almost at game speed right now and it's only the second day."

Arrington said he holds no grudges against the coaches, and he would not let the contract spat affect his game.

Gibbs said he was taking Arrington at his word.

"There's a business side for all of us," Gibbs said. "We make an agreement with somebody before we go to work, and we agree to the amount that we're going to be paid. Then, when you cross the line, you step over here, it's football. I've never seen a good football player who's focused on money once you start playing."

Notes: The Redskins matched New Orleans' four-year, $4.3 million offer sheet to restricted free agent FB Bryan Johnson. Gibbs, however, said that Johnson's status had not been resolved, leaving the possibility open for a trade. Johnson has not attended the minicamp.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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