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Admit it or not, Trent Williams' holdout is a major distraction for the Redskins

Admit it or not, Trent Williams' holdout is a major distraction for the Redskins

The Redskins don't need a sideshow this offseason. This is a team that hasn't made the playoffs in three years, drafted a rookie quarterback with the 15th pick and has a coach that admitted his job is on the line this fall. 

Despite not needing a sideshow, the Redskins got one anyway. 

Trent Williams' holdout from minicamp has been the main storyline of the last two days in Ashburn, and whether head coach Jay Gruden wants it or not, there's a distraction in Washington.

"Trent’s our best player, one of our best players, and we want him back, but right now we have to cater to the guys that are here," Gruden said Wednesday. "We’ll handle Trent accordingly and hopefully we’ll get him back by training camp. But, we have so many good things going on right now. I’m not going to let one distraction hold us back and it’s really not a distraction for me right now."

The news with Williams has gone from bad to worse during the last 72 hours.

The seven-time Pro Bowler did not show up for minicamp on Tuesday, even though it's mandatory. Soon after news leaked out that Williams wanted a new contract. While he does have two years remaining on his deal, news of his desire for a new contract did not come as a shock to anyone.   Williams is an elite player and salaries for offensive linemen have skyrocketed in the last two offseasons.   Given Williams has dealt with significant injuries the last few years, and is looking at 2020 as a contract year that provides a lot a leverage on the team side, now perhaps is the ideal time for the left tackle to make a contract stand.

That part made sense, but on Wednesday, things took a much more serious tone.

A CBS report showed that Williams is furious with the Redskins organization over the handling of his offseason scalp procedure and that he "vowed" never to play again for the Redskins. 

When the word comes down that the best player on the team won't play for the team, that's when things become a full blown distraction. Outside of a small handful of injury related hypotheticals, there really could be no worse news for the 'Skins organization in early June. 

Where does that leave things going forward?

The Redskins did not make any front office or medical officials immediately available for comment, so it left Gruden trying to explain the situation. The truth is Gruden, a football coach, is not particularly equipped to answer the questions that need to be asked nor should that be the expectation.

"The contractual stuff is out of my hands. The medical things that you guys are talking about are really out of my hands as well. My job is to coach the players that are here and that is all I can do," the coach said. 

It is worth noting that Gruden, as well as Adrian Peterson, said they had not heard anything about Williams refusing to come back to the Redskins. Peterson and WIlliams are quite close and own a business together in Texas. If Williams was done with the organization, it does seem like Peterson would know. 

"I don’t know where that came from. I talk to Trent all the time and that’s not something I’ve heard come out his mouth," Peterson said. “There’s always going to be different reports out, you never know what to believe."

It's also easy to be upset about something like this in June, but for feelings to change by August.  If the holdout really is about money, and some team sources believe that is the most important factor, then maybe a reconciliation remains possible. 

Of course, the Redskins front office needs to decide if they're willing to pony up more cash for Williams.  Keep in mind, he will turn 31 next month, and has missed roughly 30 percent of the team's games the last three seasons. The flip side, however, is Williams is probably the Redskins best player, and certainly their most important offensive lineman.

Unfortunately for Washington though, the genie is out of the bottle. This thing will be a distraction right until it isn't.

What resolution is possible? A trade, a new deal or Williams just comes back and pretends like nothing ever happened. 

A trade seems unlikely, but not out of the picture. The 'Skins don't have much leverage to maximize their position on the trade market right now. And Williams does not seem like the type of person to just forget about a holdout, especially something that has become so public. 

So what about a new deal? 

The old saying goes that time heals all wounds. In the NFL, the more appropriate adage would be time and money can heal most wounds. 

Maybe the Redskins get Williams back sometime in August, or sooner. A bump in guaranteed cash might help, but nobody knows what will happen.

For Gruden, however, all he can do is work with the the players at training camp. 

"I have a lot of people I need to coach right now, and we’re doing a good job. We have a lot of good things going on here," the coach said. "Our rookies have come in and done a great job. The guys that we've signed free agency-wise have done a great job. The veterans we have coming back have bought in and are practicing really hard. That’s what I’m focused on."

Of course the coach is focused on the players currently at training camp. The Redskins will be playing their first game in less than 100 days, and Gruden still doesn't know his starting quarterback. The 2019 Redskins have a million questions to answer even without the Williams holdout. 

Still, there is a Williams holdout. Gruden can focus on all the players he has in Ashburn, but it's silly to think the entire organization isn't also thinking about the seven-time Pro Bowler that isn't there. 

That's a distraction. Plain and simple. 

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Redskins won't see Antonio Brown in Week 5: Controversial star released by Patriots

Redskins won't see Antonio Brown in Week 5: Controversial star released by Patriots

The Antonio Brown Era in New England is over.

Brown, one of the most prolific wide receivers to ever play in the NFL, was released by the Patriots Friday afternoon, just 11 days after signing with the team.

Shortly after his release from the Raiders, which preceded his signing in New England, reports surfaced of sexual assault allegations being levied at Brown. The receiver was facing charges of rape from a former trainer, and it was initially unclear how much the Patriots knew about prior to his signing.

Brown did end up playing in Week 2, his first opportunity with the Patriots, in Miami. He caught four passes for 56 yards and a touchdown, in addition to rushing the ball once for a five-yard gain.

Late Thursday night, additional reports surfaced of intimidating texts sent by Brown to a woman involved in a separate assault case. Less than a day later, the receiver tweeted a farewell to his now former team.

Minutes later, the Patriots announced they had parted ways with Brown. 

The team released the following statement: “The New England Patriots are releasing Antonio Brown. We appreciate the hard work of many people over the past 11 days, but we feel that it is best to move in a different direction at this time.”

The investigation into sexual assault allegations against Brown remains ongoing at this time.

The Redskins will host the Patriots in Week 5 of the 2019 NFL season.

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Jonathan Allen says '100 percent' chance he plays Monday night but questions remain for Redskins

Jonathan Allen says '100 percent' chance he plays Monday night but questions remain for Redskins

Jonathan Allen declared himself "100 percent" in for the Redskins Monday night game against the Bears. That's great news, except Allen might not have the final say in the matter.

The Redskins defensive captain and third-year defensive tackle sprained his knee Week 1 in Philadelphia and wanted to return in that game. He didn't, and subsequently, missed Week 2 against Dallas too. Washington head coach Jay Gruden explained that the team has to protect Allen, a fierce competitor, against himself. He doesn't want to miss any action, even if resting his injured knee might be the most prudent course. 

Asked what would happen if the medical staff tried to prevent him from playing in Monday's contest, Allen did not really respond but rather shake his head. 

Elsewhere on the team, there doesn't seem to be as much good news on the injury front.

The news on cornerback Quinton Dunbar doesn't seem encouraging.

"I don’t know about Dunbar. He was struggling a bit today," Gruden said after practice. The cornerback injured his knee against Philly and missed the Cowboys game. It would take some serious progress for Dunbar to play Monday night. 

The news seems even more concerning with tight end Jordan Reed. He hasn't played since sustaining a concussion in the third preseason game, and this week he practiced on Wednesday but didn't make it out on the field Thursday or Friday. At this point, the Redskins seem wise to move forward without Reed in the game plan as he works his way back from the concussion protocol. 

Further down the line, cornerback Fabian Moreau looks like he is tracking to return to the field against Chicago while questions keep popping up around safety Montae Nicholson. Gruden said Nicholson's absence was mainly for rest.