Not long after Daniel Snyder bought the Washington NFL franchise in 1999, he found a new favorite player in the 2000 NFL draft. Linebacker LaVar Arrington, the No. 2 overall pick in the draft, was expected to be a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer and the next Washington legend.
Snyder quickly attached himself to Arrington. The two appeared to be quite chummy in those early years.
Then everything fell apart. First, there was the arrival of legendary Washington coach Joe Gibbs in Jan. 2004. Gibbs was returning to coach the team he led to three Super Bowls. Suddenly, Snyder had a new buddy, as he looked upon Gibbs with reverence.
Arrington never said it, but it was clear he wasn’t happy being replaced by Gibbs as the face of Washington’s franchise.
Next, there was the contract squabble. Snyder and Washington had signed Arrington to an eight-year, $68 million extension in 2003. However, Arrington and his representative, Carl Poston, alleged that Washington removed $6.5 million of bonuses from Arrington’s contract. In short, Poston was suspended for two years for his mishandling of Arrington’s contract, yet Arrington stood by him.
Arrington departed Washington after the 2005 season, finishing his career in D.C. with 79 games played, 401 tackles, 43 tackles for loss, 22.5 sacks, six forced fumbles, three interceptions and one touchdown. After going to the Pro Bowl in each season from 2001-03, his final three seasons were disappointing.
In fairness to Arrington, he should’ve been on the field more during those final seasons. Why wasn’t he? Well, you can probably assume it had something to do with his squabble with Snyder.
After one season with the Giants, Arrington was released. He was injured in a motorcycle accident in 2007 and later retired.
Arrington eventually worked in the media and never hid his feelings for Snyder. He’s remained consistent over the years with his disdain for the Washington owner.
This week, Darren Haynes of WUSA 9 in Washington, D.C., caught up with the former Washington linebacker.
“It has to happen; it should happen,” Arrington said of Snyder potentially selling the Washington Commanders. “Why wouldn’t it happen? Why is he even trying to hold onto it? Nobody wants you. Nobody wants you. Just go. It’s a chaotic environment; it’s a turbulent environment; it’s a high-turnover environment. People aren’t treated correctly. People don’t feel like it’s right. How are you going to have success?”
Arrington then explained this is all Snyder’s creation.
“That’s what little guy created,” Arrington said. “I don’t run around saying ‘I’m a Washington football player.’ I don’t leverage it; I don’t live in it because I don’t like him. I don’t like him; I don’t associate with him, and I don’t associate with what he associates with.”
Arrington has waited years to deliver this parting statement.
“Not everybody that goes through what I went through gets the opportunity at some point to be like, “I told ya, I told ya. Everybody doesn’t get that opportunity. But. I’ll be doggone if I didn’t have one of the biggest, like humble flexes to say, ‘I told y’all. I told y’all.”
Arrington is right. He did tell everyone. And much of what he has said about Snyder over the years has proven to be true. As far as his downfall with Washington, Arrington’s representatives were a major problem for him. Just read this piece on Carl and Kevin Poston. That doesn’t mean what he said about Snyder wasn’t true. There was plenty of blame to go around on both sides, with Arrington caught in the middle.
It’s a shame Arrington’s career with Washington didn’t go as expected. He was clearly one of the most popular players in the 2000s, and perhaps if Snyder sells the team, he’ll proudly root for the Commanders.