Dwayne Haskins speaks after benching, skipping media session: 'Hardest week of my life'

Dwayne Haskins had a brutal day on the football field Sunday, piling on to an awful week and all-around rough go since joining the NFL.

After being benched in a costly loss to the Carolina Panthers, the Washington Football Team quarterback skipped his postgame media session and left FedEx Field. After some time and a conversation with Washington’s media relations staff, he joined Washington beat reporters on a video call.

He spoke candidly about his feelings.

“Definitely the hardest week of my life,” Haskins told reporters. “I just want to bounce back and move forward and pray and get my life together.”

Dwayne Haskins #7 of the Washington Football Team walks off the field after losing to the Carolina Panthers 20-13 at FedExField on December 27, 2020 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
Dwayne Haskins sounds resigned that his playing days in Washington are done. (Will Newton/Getty Images)

What made this past week so hard for Haskins?

Haskins entered Sunday having firmly entrenched himself on head coach Ron Rivera’s bad side. The second-year quarterback who lost his starting job earlier this season surfaced in photos on social media last week that reportedly showed him maskless at a strip club.

Haskins denied that he attended a strip club. The locale of his outing wasn’t the problem. It was the fact that he attended a gathering without a mask, a COVID-19 protocol violation that he all but admitted in an apology to the team.

The reported protocol violation was his second of the season after he reportedly made a reservation for a family friend at a team hotel in October. This one reportedly cost him $40,000, the largest known individual protocol fine in the NFL this season. It also cost him his captaincy, which Rivera stripped after the week’s events.

It didn’t, however, cost him playing time. With Alex Smith sidelined by a calf strain, Washington went into Sunday’s game thin at quarterback. He may not be Rivera’s guy but Haskins got the start against the Panthers because there was no better option.

It did not go well.

Haskins struggles with second chance

Haskins threw two interceptions and lost a fumble en route to Washington digging a 20-6 hole. Rivera benched him in the fourth quarter for journeyman Taylor Heinicke, who hadn’t played an NFL snap since 2018. Washington went on to lose the game and a chance to clinch the NFC East title.

It was the second time this season that Rivera benched Haskins. Rivera, who wasn’t with the team when Haskins was drafted, sat his starting quarterback in Week 5 after a 1-3 start that saw him tally five touchdowns and five turnovers.

Sunday concluded a failed second chance. And it appeared to signal the inevitable end to his tenure with the team that made him a first-round pick in 2019. When he eventually spoke with reporters, he sounded resigned to the end of his playing days with Washington.

“You sign up for this job. Sometimes being human isn't enough. Pray for another opportunity. You never know when you get another one.”

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