Arrington doesn't want to waste words on Redskins

Updated: October 5, 2006, 5:55 PM ET
Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- For someone who didn't want to create a war of words with his former Washington Redskins teammates and coaches, LaVar Arrington certainly didn't make himself scarce.

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In a lengthy interview in front of his locker Thursday, the former Pro Bowl linebacker patiently and calmly responded to several published comments that questioned his grasp of the Redskins' defensive schemes during his six years in Washington.

If there are no warm and fuzzy feelings between Arrington and the team that drafted him No. 2 overall in 2000, the linebacker's underlying theme Thursday was that it is validation, not revenge, he seeks this Sunday when the Redskins visit Giants Stadium.

"Honestly, I feel more pressure to get on track and perform so that the Giants fans have something to cheer about, rather than sitting there trying to prove something about who we're playing against," he said.

Arrington has been a lightning rod for discontented fans in a season that has fallen far short of expectations through the first four weeks.

New York is 1-2, with the victory a come-from-behind overtime win at Philadelphia. Arrington has contributed 12 tackles, one pass defensed and no sacks, and the defense has allowed 30 points per game.

All of that took a back seat Wednesday after Redskins cornerback Shawn Springs and linebackers coach Dale Lindsey both said Arrington's paltry -- Lindsey implied nonexistent -- knowledge of the Redskins' defensive systems would be of little help to the Giants.

After divulging that he kept his Redskins playbook, Arrington addressed those statements with a little sarcasm.

"I do have my playbook," he said. "If I don't understand it, I'm sure coach [Tom] Coughlin can decipher it."

Coughlin said he was confident Arrington and linebacker Antonio Pierce, a former Redskin, would not let their personal agendas affect preparation for Sunday.

"I think that their concern has been all week long how can we improve as a football team," he said. "It doesn't have a whole lot to do with them individually."

The few times Arrington seemed to get agitated during Thursday's 15-minute interview was when Washington coach Joe Gibbs' name was mentioned.

In a conference call Wednesday, Gibbs said he wished he had done things differently during Arrington's years in Washington. Their relationship devolved into sniping over injury treatments and playing time and finished with Arrington buying his way out of his contract.

When asked if he believed Gibbs, Arrington replied, "He's Joe Gibbs, man. If he wanted something to be different, it would have been different. There's no need looking back on that. It is what it is. He's just a coach of another team we're playing."

Arrington said his overriding emotion on Sunday will be a desire to show Giants fans the player they thought they were getting when he was signed for $49 million over seven years.

"I've been feeling that ever since the fans here have been feeling like maybe they shouldn't have brought me here," he said, "that's the emotion I'm riding. Not that I need to prove something to the Redskins. I need to establish who I am within this organization, within this community. That's what I'm riding on. And I'm high on it right now."

In the larger picture, the defending division champions will be in dire straits if they lose Sunday. That would make them 1-3, with road games following at Atlanta and Dallas.

"We're getting blasted and it doesn't matter who we're playing this week," Arrington said. "Lack of 'D', [defensive coordinator] Tim Lewis should go, LaVar should go, why did we get him, what's Eli Manning doing? So it doesn't matter who we're playing. The pressure is on us to perform."

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press