UPDATED 5:22 p.m.
On the cusp of being officially suspended for violating the NFLs substance abuse policy with a third failed recreational drug test, Redskins tight end Fred Davis and left tackle Trent Williams met with Mike Shanahan Monday and had a request: They wanted to address their teammates and coaching staff.
I told them it would be smart for them to do it, Shanahan said. Thats what a person with responsibility would do, especially when you let down your teammates.
Once the league said the players could enter the facility and go through certain off-the-field activities like meetings and treatment, Shanahan gave Davis and Williams the floor Wednesday morning.
It speaks to their character and accountability, right guard Chris Chester said. They know theyve made their mistakes and theyre trying to make it right as best as they can.
Said quarterback Rex Grossman: It was extremely genuine. You could tell theyre both not exactly in the best mood right now. As a team, it was nice to hear.
Shanahan will welcome the presence of Davis and Williams for the final four games, but didnt hide how upset he was with the behavior of two offensive cornerstones.
Am I disappointed in them? Big time, Shanahan said. Theyre obviously very disappointed in their decision and were disappointed in their decision to do what they did.
Shanahan provided some clarity in the process that led to the suspension.
He said after the first test, Davis and Williams began receiving counseling all the time, to stem potential drug abuse and the Redskins werent aware of the situation until the players second failed test.
When we find out as an organization is when they start taking paychecks away from them, Shanahan said. If they make a mistake after that, then theyre suspended.
Shanahan readily used the let down phrase to describe the selfish actions of Williams and Davis.
Asked the same question about Williams earlier in the day, Chester said: Let down? Maybe more disappointed to a certain extent. Its unfortunate and Im more upset for him than myself because of what he meant to our line.
Right tackle Jammal Brown said Williams is taking the suspension pretty hard.
He felt that he let his teammates down, Brown said. I told him to just keep his head up, learn from the mistakes and use this as a lesson learned.
Williams contract situation and the lack of depth on the Redskins offensive line means he will be back next year. Shanahan reiterated Williams played his best game against the Jets.
I like the way Trents handled himself, his maturity from his first year to second year, how he practiced, how he went about his business, Shanahan said.
But he quickly and correctly pointed out: It just takes one time. One more time and hes gone for the year. Well find out very quickly if hes going down the right path.
Davis, meanwhile, saw the best year of his career end early and not because of injury.
It would be shocking if Davis didnt hurt his market value because of the suspension. The Redskins and other teams must weigh the reward of Davis production against the risk of being out a year with a fourth failed test.
Newly re-signed tight end Dominique Byrd, who took Davis roster spot, has been staying with his college teammate.
Obviously the news isnt good but hes standing up as a man for what he did and that takes a lot, Byrd said. Beyond that, I think hes ready to get training and be ready for the next step, whatever it is.
The next step for the Redskins offense is finding ways to replace their best offensive linemen and leading receiver. But with a 4-8 record and the playoffs extremely unlikely, the bigger issue is the future of Davis and Williams.
From the day in January 2010 he arrived in Ashburn, Shanahan has preached character, trust and accountability.
Davis, who has developed into a reliable tight end and Williams, who was Shanahans first Redskins draft choice, have violated all three characteristics. Can they get it back?
You really dont know, said Shanahan, who spent the first 12 minutes of a 20-minute press conference discussing the suspensions. You sit down and talk to players and say, Hey, what direction are you going with your life? This isnt all about football. Once you make a commitment to somebody, it doesnt take long to figure out if their word means anything.
People do make mistakes. Ive seen guys come back from this and are fine for the rest of their career. They dont even stumble. Ive had other guys who are out of the league within 2-3 months.
Shanahan hopes Davis and Williams showing remorse and speaking to the team is the first step of a positive turnaround.
Theres not really anything you can say except, I screwed up, Shanahan said. And they were man enough today to talk in front of the team and they did say, Hey, we did screw up. We promise it wont happen again.
Well find out in the future if theyre true to their word.
Contact OHalloran at email@example.com