ASHBURN, Va. – Just more than one week ago Washington Commanders defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio tweeted what he dubbed an “honest question” while comparing the social uprising following the murder of George Floyd to the actions taken by a group that had gathered at the Capitol building last January.
Last Wednesday, speaking to the media following the team’s final open practice of the OTA period, Del Rio defended his right to speak freely and was likely to escape further scrutiny until he referred to the latter of the two topics as a “dust-up”, seemingly minimizing the event.
Over the weekend Washington coach Ron Rivera released a statement expressing his disappointment and disapproval of the comments, he fined his defensive coordinator $100k, and Del Rio deleted his Twitter account.
Then, after an extended team meeting Tuesday morning, Rivera opted to meet with media again to clear the air ahead of the first practice of this year’s Mandatory Minicamp.
“I’ve spoken to Jack multiple times about what was said,” Rivera said. “This isn’t about exercising his right to free speech, this is about his impact on the team.”
Rivera continued by saying he believes wholeheartedly in everyone’s rights, but there’s also a need to understand the responsibilities that come with coach Del Rio’s status on the team and his impact on the same.
Del Rio spoke with and opened the floor for questions with the team on Tuesday morning as well, and Rivera told us his defensive coordinator has also had some conversations with several players in private.
In the end, the intention is for the Commanders as a whole to come together and move forward.
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Is this the end of the Del Rio story? It could be.
If so, it’ll be nice to turn back to football for the week before entering the one long month we experience in the NFL world where nothing but bad news tends to develop.
Of course, even the football side of this team isn’t without drama as star receiver Terry McLaurin is officially a holdout as he continues his pursuit of a new contract with the Commanders.
“My only concern is that we continue to have a dialogue,” Rivera said about his receiver’s holdout. “We want Terry to be here.”
The issue of McLaurin not being a participant in OTAs is one of reps and cohesiveness with his new quarterback, Carson Wentz.
Rivera said he’s not worried about the absence and any delayed opportunities to work together and that once the two get together he’s confident they’ll be able to get on the same page quickly.
We know this certainly isn’t the last dramatic development we’ll see from the Washington Commanders. But then, that’s the norm around here these days.
And like others, we’ll be here to discuss and analyze the next one, just like the last.