Commanders' Ron Rivera lights into team during tense workout

Commanders’ Ron Rivera lights into team during tense workout

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Washington Commanders Coach Ron Rivera charged across the field, screaming: “Who was the [expletive] safety? Who was the [expletive] safety?”

A moment earlier, halfway through a team workout Wednesday, safety Jeremy Reaves collided with wide receiver Dyami Brown, who crumpled to the ground. Reaves had tried to jump Brown’s route over the middle and accidentally hit Brown in the head area with his head or shoulder.

As trainers attended to Brown, who remained down for a few minutes, Rivera chewed out Reaves for making a dangerous play in June. He huddled up the whole team and launched into an expletive-laden speech about discipline and understanding the bigger picture.

“People get hurt, you lose [expletive] games! You got to understand that!” he said.

“This is a team!” he added. “You do it our [expletive] way!”

The final day of organized team activities open to the media, which included the Reaves-Brown collision and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio downplaying the Jan. 6 insurrection as a “dust-up,” was tense. Rivera said Brown will be all right — “a little sore shoulder and that’s about it” — but he was upset about the lack of discipline. He made a point to note that his frustrations Wednesday were different from concerns he had about the team’s maturity during last year’s preseason.

“I told Jeremy I’m disappointed in him because I know who he is,” Rivera said. “And he’s the right kind of guy. He’s the kind of guy you want on your football team, the kind of guy you want on the football field — because, for the most part, he does smart things.”

As the trainers helped Brown back to the team facility, Reaves ran over, apologized and patted him on the shoulder. He told Rivera he was sorry, too; visibly frustrated, he hit himself in the helmet and cursed.

“I actually didn’t see Dyami,” Reaves said later. “I was just breaking on the ball, and at the last second I felt him. But at that point, I already had my hands down to go try to pick [the pass]. I knew immediately. As soon as he hit me, I knew what it was going to be.”

Reaves said it’s difficult not to be aggressive on every play. He has fought to stay in the NFL since Philadelphia signed him as an undrafted free agent out of South Alabama in 2018. But he didn’t use his circumstances as an excuse, saying he knows better.

“You never want to be that guy [who hits a teammate],” he added. “It’s tough being that guy in that situation, but at the same time, we preach ownership here. We preach accountability. So, as a man, you’ve got to take responsibility for when something goes wrong.”

Quarterback Carson Wentz spoke to the media for the first time since his introductory news conference March 17. He was affable and effusive in praise for his teammates, saying rookie wideout Jahan Dotson catches the ball “as natural as anybody I’ve been around.”

Wentz also said he has spoken “quite a bit” with star wideout Terry McLaurin, who’s holding out because of his contract negotiations.

“The dynamic he brings will just elevate us,” Wentz said. “There’s no doubt about it. He’s an extremely talented guy and a great, great person, I’ve already learned, and a hard-working guy. So I know he’ll be ready to go.”

Washington had nine players on the side field. The list included some old names — such as tight end Logan Thomas (knee), who has been rehabbing since the end of last season — as well as some new ones.

The most notable newcomers were running back Antonio Gibson, who had “a little twinge in the hamstring,” Rivera said, and wide receiver Curtis Samuel, who took a rest day “out of an abundance of caution,” the coach said. Rivera said Samuel felt “a little bit tight” after a workout Monday, and head athletic trainer Al Bellamy decided to hold him out.

The others on the side field were center Chase Roullier, center Tyler Larsen, linebacker Ferrod Gardner, tight end Curtis Hodges, offensive lineman Saahdiq Charles and defensive end Jacub Panasiuk.

Tight end Sammis Reyes was not at the workout, Rivera said, because he’s having an old screw from a previous knee surgery taken care of. Rivera said he would not need surgery this time.

McLaurin and defensive tackle Daron Payne did not attend the workout because of frustration about contract negotiations. Rivera was asked whether they will return for the three-day mandatory minicamp that begins Tuesday.

“I expect all our players to be here,” he said, “because it is mandatory.”

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