Commanders Coach Ron Rivera lights into team during tense practice


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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 practice Wednesday, safety Jeremy Reaves collided with 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.

While 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!”

“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 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 than concerns Rivera 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 facility, Reaves ran over, apologized and patted him on the shoulder. He told Rivera he was sorry too and, visibly frustrated, 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 to not be aggressive every play. He’s 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],” Reaves 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.”

Wentz addresses missing McLaurin: 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 teammates, saying rookie receiver Jahan Dotson catches the ball “as natural as anybody I’ve been around.”

Wentz also said he’s spoken “quite a bit” with star wideout Terry McLaurin, who’s been 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 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.”

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

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

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

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

Contract woes: McLaurin and defensive tackle Daron Payne and receiver Terry McLaurin both did not attend practice Wednesday due to frustration over ongoing contract negotiations. Rivera was asked if they’ll return for the mandatory minicamp June 14-16.

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


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