Redskins' Springs untangles his eventful offseason
Updated: June 14, 2007, 6:03 PM ET
ASHBURN, Va. -- When the Washington Redskins asked Shawn Springs to take a pay cut, he said no.
"You only get two choices," Springs told The Associated Press on Thursday. "Either keep me, or let me go."
In his first interview since rejoining the team for offseason workouts, Springs put his eventful offseason in very simple terms. He seemed bemused about the attention he's been receiving, wondering aloud more than once why he's in such demand.
"I ain't going to be the type of person that causes drama," Springs said with a smile. "You know how my personality is. I'm so easygoing and laid-back."
Even so, there's been plenty of drama surrounding the 32-year-old cornerback. He had three injuries last year -- a sports hernia, a hamstring injury and a broken shoulder blade -- limiting him to nine games and only one interception. In the offseason he was the subject of trade rumors, and the Redskins asked him to take a pay cut from a contract that is scheduled to count a team-high $7.4 million against the salary cap this season.
I ain't going to be the type of person that causes drama. You know how my personality is. I'm so easygoing and laid-back.
Springs, figuring he would command plenty of attention from other teams if the Redskins cut him, essentially called the team's bluff. He would only play under the contract he signed.
"Either you want me or you don't," Springs said. "All that other stuff, that ain't important."
Springs complicated matters by not showing up for the start of voluntary spring practices in early May, deciding instead to remain in Arizona to pursue his own workout regimen. He and safety Sean Taylor were the only notable absentees during the first week, and Taylor eventually reported. Coach Joe Gibbs told reporters he had "lost contact" with Springs.
"I lost my phone," Springs said with a shrug. "That happens."
More seriously, Springs said he preferred to complete the program he had begun in Arizona. Then, when he finally did report last week, he had to leave abruptly when he got a call from his pregnant wife. She has since given birth to a boy -- "everything's good," he said -- and he was at Redskins Park on Thursday to have his physical in preparation for the mandatory three-day minicamp that begins Friday.
"This minicamp's going to be rough," said Springs, referring to the baby at home, "because I ain't getting no sleep."
When healthy, Springs has been a solid No. 1 cornerback, but the Redskins were stung last year when the defense ranked 31st overall and set an NFL record for fewest takeaways in a non-strike season. Since then, they have added free agent cornerbacks Fred Smoot, David Macklin and Jerametrius Butler to a group that already includes Springs and Carlos Rogers.
Springs is still probably the cream of that crop, and the team's thoughts about possibly moving him to safety faded when Washington selected LaRon Landry with the No. 6 overall pick in the draft in April.
"I don't know why they were talking about that anyway," Springs said of the move to safety. "Maybe they don't think I'm a good corner."
Springs said he has not sought to have a clear-the-air talk with Gibbs. The very fact that he'll be on the field Friday in a Redskins uniform says all that needs to be said.
"I'm here, so they want me here," Springs said. "And nothing else matters."
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press