We all love football and it is by far one of the best pass times that comes each and every fall. That being said, we are also enamored of professional players and the skill and dedication that it takes to be successful at this sport. The players are as much a part of our football routine as the teams themselves. Popular teams often see shakeups when it comes to lineup be it changes that are enacted by the coaches or changes that are brought on by players leaving or coming on to the team.
Su’a Cravens Leaves Football
As a general rule once a professional football player reaches the age of 35 or once they experience one too many career altering injuries they tend to bow out peacefully and take the time to give their team the time to replace them. Early September of 2017 however, strong safety Su’a Cravens of the Washington Redskins announced that he would be leaving the team to retire. This came a shock to teammates, coaches, and fans as he intended to retire only one year after he was contracted after being selected second in the NFL draft.
Cravens contacted president Bruce Allen that he would be retiring and that there were extenuating circumstances that made it impossible for him to continue his career with the Redskins. Rather than take the resignation at the time he offered it the team put Cravens on the exempt or left team list so that he could have some time to figure out the situation and decide if retiring was really the right course of action. Cravens was put on the list for a month to help give him time to decide what he was planning on doing.
So what preceded his choice to leave? Earlier this year he had missed several weeks of training and play due to arthroscopic surgery on his knee. He was set to return by week one but even with the help of trainers and with a dedicated and grueling physical therapy schedule he was unable to come back and he decided instead to retire. Though he was signed with a $4.4 million contract that would pay him an average salary of $1.107 million, he simply did not feel that he was up to continuing.
He then supposedly sent a group text to his teammates telling them that he was happy for their support but that he would be retiring. At the time there was no real news as to whether the retirement would take and be permanent or if Cravens would come back after further time taken to recover.
Su’a Cravens Wants to Return
Though he termed his leave from football a retirement, it seems that Cravens really just wants a break of sorts. He stated recently in an interview that he would love to return to the field in 2018 but that play for 2017 was certainly over for him. Cravens, who is only 22 and a bit young to hang it up for good, has even stated that he intends to return to the Redskins when he is back in playing shape.
In a recent report by the Redskins however, there have been no deals and no talks of allowing Cravens to return to the Redskins at any time. Team officials ended his season in early September by placing him on the reserve or left squad list in order to give him more time to deal with any personal issues as well as health issues that he may be dealing with. Team officials felt that allowing Cravens to come back without earning his way into the good graces of those players that felt he had betrayed them would be a heavy blow to team unity and would negatively affect the game.
Reports claimed that Cravens was seen talking to VP of player Personnel Doug Williams and that they had a lengthy discussion about his status but these reports have since been rebuked. Their meeting was completely by chance and lasted less than 10 minutes. It seems that the issues that forced Cravens to claim that he was retiring are just too great for the team and for team officials to look past to give him a place back on the team.
Coach Jay Gruden says that he still sees Cravens as a quality persona and a great player that loves the game but feels he needs more time to get his life in order before he can pursue professional football again.
What Does this Mean for Cravens’ Career?
When you take a good hard look at all that has transpired and the fact that it was all made public to other teams, team players, fans, and any recruiter or other team official that might see it, it does not bode well for his career. For starters, many have said that Cravens has enough personal issues that he needs to resolve that he may have a red flag on his record so to speak when other teams look at prospectively signing him.
He has also spurned some teammates. Though he left with the best intentions to get his life back on track and to get his health under control, he did so at a point that left his team struggling and did take a spot away from another potential player. This is bound to leave hard feelings and may even color his prospects when he does decide to return to the game.
On top of that, he has not been very solid in his decisions. He claimed that he was retiring which would signify that he wanted to end his part in professional football for good. This is fine, if that is really what he wanted. His recent remarks that he wants to return to football next year are not the remarks of a player that truly wants to retire. It seems almost as if he made the decision in the heat of the moment and that he did not really take the time to think about what he was doing, to consider all the repercussions, and to come up with a good plan that he could stick to. In some ways, this flip flopping on his part may scare away other teams in fear that he may do the same thing to them.
The most important thing is that he does get his life and his health lined out and that he is happy and healthy. It is dangerous for a professional football player to sit it out for too long as it does make it seem like they do not want it and it does tend to make it harder for them to get signed. He is young however and if he needs the time off he should take it. At this point, his best bet is likely to start fresh with a new team after he gets his life and health in order to start a career he can stick with and that he wants to stick with. He is a talented player and with the right agents, the right game plan, and the proper time to heal and get back to his self he can be a player that millions admire and even envy.