Dear Redskins Nation:
I understand you are all very upset with the recent news breaking of second year pro and former second round draft pick Su'a Cravens wanting to walk away from football at the age of 22. As this news is extremely disappointing to all in Burgundy and Gold, please remember that these men are not robots; they are human beings with the same feelings, emotions, cares and concerns that many of us have on a daily basis. To fans, football may be YOUR life, but not every player feels the same - and Su'a is obviously one of those players.
Instead of looking at just the player here, we have to look at the situation surrounding said player. There were issues of his lack of desire to play the game dating back to his days at USC, when he tried to quit the game of football. There was obviously a pattern of behavior that followed him to the NFL, as it has been reported that he tried to quit during his rookie year, when injury forced him to miss the team's final few games of the season. We can be as disappointed as we choose to be with the player himself, but it was our staff who should have known about this behavior before he was drafted, and they should have proceeded with caution. Instead, they took Cravens with a second round pick, and proceeded to play him as an undersized linebacker - a spot that requires a lot of physicality, and one that can certainly carry with it a big injury risk for a player that is not physically and mentally prepared to handle the rigors of the position.
But for all the Redskins may have done wrong by drafting this player, they seem to be doing something right with him, by giving Cravens time to find himself, and decide if the game of football is really for him. They appear eager to work with the young man, in an attempt to help him through the issues that are surrounding him, and seem to truly care about figuring out what is best with him moving forward - even if that means a life without football.
As for life without Su'a Cravens on the Redskins...we will be fine! The one thing that is not good for the player or the team, is to have someone out there who is just going through the motions; someone whose heart and head are not in the game anymore. If Cravens were to play for the sake of others, he could further risk putting himself, and his team, in situations that could cause more harm than good.
The Redskins roster has good young talent that can compete and excel at safety. D.J. Swearinger looks like a good leader with the mentality to be an enforcer on the back end. Deshazor Everett, a former college cornerback, may be a player who just needs an opportunity. Finally, rookie fourth round pick Montae Nicholson looks like he could become the real deal as a free safety. The 6'2" 212 pounder possesses the size, speed and mentality to play the position at a high level. He's finally healthy and ready to show fans what he's capable of.
The Cravens' situation remains a delicate one, and I don't expect that to change, even if he decides to give football another shot. At this point, however, I think it is best we simply cut our losses (and egos - for the coaches and front office), and do what's best for the player and the team...let him move on with his life. While doing so, I hope the team can support him while he transitions away from football, and I hope we, the fans, can remain respectful of his decision, should he choose to walk away.
It's worth repeating, that one player is never above the team, but the team need to be there above that player guiding him towards a decision that will,benefit the best for both sides.