Yes, he was at a party at a Falls Church mansion around late May.
“Yeah I think somebody created a picture and somebody said it was weed or something like that,” Davis said.
You show him the picture.
Point to the lit ember amid the black background.
Looks hard at it.
“It’s not even weed or anything. It’s a Black & Mild,” he finally explained, referring to the thin pipe-tobacco cigar brand.
You tell him it’s tough to ascertain what it is. Ask him if he’s sure.
“I get tested two to three times a week,” Davis said, shaking his head. “That’s not even an issue for me. If I do [use marijuana], then it’s instantly going to be known that I’m suspended, so. . . . ”
So Davis said he isn’t going to do that to himself, because he knows next time it will cost him an entire season, cost him any credibility earned these past few months. And he knows he’s gotten in his own way too many times before to risk it again.
Fred Davis is at a fork in the road. If he goes right, stays healthy and keeps his lungs clean, he continues on the path to becoming one of the NFL’s true playmakers at his position.
If he goes the other way, either falls out of favor with Coach Mike Shanahan as a player or detonates his career with another positive drug test, then he becomes the last bust of the 2008 second-round receiving class to flameout in Washington, following Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly out the door.
Designated as the team’s franchise player in March, he signed a one-year deal that will pay him commensurate with the league’s top five tight ends – about $5.4 million. But “franchise player” is a bit of a misnomer. Although he’s paid well, Davis is essentially playing for a long-term contract with the Redskins this season.
At 26 years old, in the physical prime of his career and fresh off taking the starting job for good from the recently released Chris Cooley, the most prolific pass-catching tight end in team history, Davis has nothing but opportunity for NFL job security in front of him.
But just one slip and he knows: back to being the guy labeled as “Five Alarm Fred” for oversleeping the last day of his first training camp. Back to being “Deadhead Fred,” the guy who, along with offensive lineman Trent Williams, lost games, pay and respect because he couldn’t leave an illegal substance alone.
“I understand why people make a big deal of it,” Davis said. “They love the team and they don’t want to see the wrong guy in the program and I understand that. But the people that know me, that’s why I’ve been here for so long, Coach [Mike] Shanahan came in and knew that I work hard and play hard and have enough talent to be good in this league. So they gave me a chance.”