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10 For 80: LaVar Arrington

Posted by Andrew Walker on June 20, 2012 – 12:04 pm

Note: The Redskins Blog will be profiling several former players, coaches and team officials eligible to be voted by you, the fans, in this year’s Redskins 80th Anniversary celebration. To vote for LaVar Arrington or your 10 other all-timers to join the already-chosen list of the 70 Greatest Redskins, go to http://www.redskins80th.com/

He chose to wear No. 56 to pay tribute to Pro Bowl linebackers Lawrence Taylor and Thomas “Hollywood” Henderson.

So selecting that number could bring lofty expectations for any rookie.

Turns out LaVar Arrington didn’t disappoint.

In his six seasons with the Redskins, Arrington earned three consecutive Pro Bowl berths from 2001 to 2003 and amassed 22.5 sacks — including leading all linebackers with 11 in 2002 — as well as 10 forced fumbles and three interceptions.

Along the way, Arrington became known as one of the league’s hardest hitters whose game face alone (see above) was enough to intimidate any opposing player who dared touch the football in his presence.

“(Arrington) has a knack for making guys reassess their career goals,” Philadelphia Eagles’ linebacker Shawn Barber said in a 2002 Rolling Stone piece.

Arrington, a Pittsburgh native, was an elite athlete coming out of high school, where he was a big-time running back as well as a star in basketball and track.

He attended Penn State University and added his name to the long list of great student-athletes to play for “Linebacker U” under coach Joe Paterno. One of the most dominating college players of his era, Arrington became only the 12th player in school history to earn consecutive All-America honors.

He was selected second overall by the Redskins in the 2000 NFL Draft. After getting his feet wet in a rookie season in which he played in all 16 games — starting 11 — with 52 tackles and four sacks, Arrington exploded onto the scene in the 2001 season. That year, playing less as a rush linebacker, Arrington totaled a career-high 99 tackles, three interceptions and six pass deflections. One of those interceptions he returned 67 yards for a touchdown. For his efforts, Arrington earned his first Pro Bowl selection.

The 2002 season was perhaps Arrington’s most dominant in the NFL, as the 24 year old collected 92 tackles, a career-high 11 sacks, four forced fumbles and deflected eight passes. He also returned a fumble for a touchdown that year.

Arrington followed up his 2002 Pro Bowl season with another postseason trip to Hawaii in 2003, when he had 88 tackles, six sacks and a career-best six forced fumbles and 10 passes deflected.

Perhaps fittingly, Arrington earned high praise from many along the way. His former coach, Marty Schottenhemier, said Arrington had “the power of Lawrence Taylor and the speed of Derrick Thomas.”

In a 2004 edition of The Sporting News “Pro Football Tough Guys,” offensive lineman said Arrington “hits people to knock people out. You could put a highlight reel of his on tape and you’d go, ‘Man, that’s a football player.’ He might be the hardest hitter in football right now. He packs a bigger wallop than John Lynch.”

After digging through Arrington’s files here at Redskins Park, I found this 2004 cover of Athlon Sports ProFootball Magazine in which Arrington shares cover boy honors with another great linebacker:

With that, we at the Redskins would also like to wish LaVar a happy 34th birthday.

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Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments »

6 Responses to “10 For 80: LaVar Arrington”

  1. By jennifer myers on Jun 20, 2012 | Reply

    happy birthday

  2. By Chris Aitken on Jun 20, 2012 | Reply

    No way Arrington should ever be considered, was a average player at best, refused to learn from Joe Gibbs, and bad mouthed The Redskins (a team he is still making money off of to this day) after he left for the New York Giants. It is an insult he is listed amongst “men” such as Roy Jefferson & Verlon Biggs. Know your history Redskins fans, it will be a stain on this organization if Arrington is voted in.

  3. By Lavar56 on Jun 21, 2012 | Reply

    I have to disagree with you Chris. This guy put the fear in opposing offensive players and his speed and athlecticism were amazing during his tenure with the Skins. I can still remember him coming across the line of scrimmage and chasing plays down from behind. I agree that there are great players that have played the same position for the Skins but to write Arrington off is not right at all. The man is a 3 time Pro Bowler. I wouldn’t call that average at best… As for the bad mouthing the Redskins; he was in a dispute with the team and said things out of anger. He later apologized (around the time of Taylor’s death) RIP21.

  4. By Chris Aitken on Jun 21, 2012 | Reply

    I will say this Lavar56, he did put the fear into Troy Aikman. He could have been great, but I look at other players on the list like Verlon Biggs (talk about instilling fear) a man who dominated the line of scrimmage, took the Skins to a Superbowl, and helped the Jets actually win one. Roy Jefferson, a man who helped the Colts win a Superbowl, and helped the Skins get to one in 72′. Roy Jefferson is also listed as one of the greatest Steelers of all time.
    When I look at players like Lavar Arrington & Sean Taylor, I would be a fool to deny individual skill, or greatness. However as George Allen would say what have what have you done to help the Redskins win? Team players like Jefferson, Biggs, Harraway, & Hermeling did this as a team.
    Agree, or not about Lavar. We all agree on this “Hail To The Redskins.”

  5. By Lavar56 on Jun 22, 2012 | Reply

    Amen brother! I want to see Kerrackpo put the fear in Romo, Vick and Manning this year… Hope to be able to sing our fight song numerous times during the games after RGIII airs it out to our new posse 🙂

  6. By The Mayor on Jun 23, 2012 | Reply

    Lavar never wore 56 in honor of anyone. He wore it because 5 + 6 = 11, his number at Penn State.

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