(photo by Brian Murphy)
Let us be perfectly clear about this – Demetric Evans wanted to remain a member of the Washington Redskins.
In fact, when we talked to the defensive lineman Thursday night he informed us that he’ll keep his house in Virginia and continue to live there during the offseason.
Had the Redskins shown any interest in the seven-year veteran, he’d still be a member of the burgundy and gold. But for whatever reason after five years of service, the team opted to move in a different direction and Evans is now a member of the San Francisco 49ers.
“You know, it’s going to be very hard to leave Washington,” said Evans, who signed a two-year, $3.8 million deal with San Francisco earlier this week. “I’ve been here five years and developed some great relationships with the players and coaches. I’m going to have to leave behind my wife, who has one more year left on her residency (with a local hospital). It’s going to be very hard, but at the same time, it’s only temporary. Times flies by and I wanted to be in a place where they wanted me.”
On a team with a lot of marquee names, you’ve always been one of the unsung heroes. You quietly showed up for work, lined up wherever they asked you to and played your heart out. We find it hard to believe the ‘Skins will be better off without a guy like you around.
“Exactly,” Evans said. “But you’re going to see me explode out there in San Fran, that’s what’s going to happen. So don’t wonder why, you know what I mean? I just want to set the record straight with the fans that supported me here in Washington and wanted to see me sign back. It wasn’t a deal where it was between Washington and San Fran. They wanted me and I took the best deal that was on the table. I just want to thank everybody for their support, for cheering and showing up at FedEx excited every Sunday. I appreciate that. I have great memories, but once again, I must move on.”
So wait … to clarify what you just said, the Redskins never even made an offer to you? Even after they released Jason Taylor?
“The Redskins told my agent before free agency even started, ‘We are not interested in Demetric. We’re going to go in a different direction,’” he said. “All the fans, all the beat writers, all the news anchors – once you saw [defensive tackle Albert] Haynesworth holding up the number 92 jersey, that should have been the writing on the wall. When Jason Taylor came to Washington, he didn’t hold up a number 99 jersey. Haynesworth could have easily held up a 09 jersey or a number 1 jersey or anything. Basically, that indicated Haynesworth is here. Demetric is not.”
That brings up an interesting point. How did it feel seeing another player holding up your number?
“It didn’t bother me and honestly, I didn’t even watch the press conference,” Evans said. “I already knew what they were going to do and I didn’t take it personally. It just shows that this is a business and ultimately, they can put whoever they want in that jersey.”
What can the fans expect to see from Demetric Evans now that you’re off to San Francisco?
“You’re going to see me burst into the NFC West,” he said. “It’s not like the NFC East. I’m not taking anything away from them, but it’s not the NFC East. You’re going to see a guy go out and be a dominant force in that division because when you think about it, they’ve got a lot of pass-happy, West Coast-type of teams. I’ll be in good weather, running around enjoying myself and having fun on the field. You know, Seattle wants to throw the ball. St. Louis wants to throw the ball. Arizona wants to throw the ball. And being in a 3-4 defense, three of the top five defenses last year were 3-4.
“All that being said, I’m going to get an opportunity to go out and compete for a starting job and do what I do best – play hard-nosed football,” Evans said. “I’m excited about going out there. I’m excited about getting a fresh start. I’m excited about being a 49er. I wish the Redskins well next season. I want to wish the best for my teammates, especially the defensive line there, because they’ve got a great group of guys. They’re great men, husbands and friends, so I just want to leave on a good note.”
With that we said goodbye to Evans and promised to check back in with him during the season. We can’t help but think that much like Antonio Pierce, Ryan Clark and others, Redskins fans will miss Evans now that he’s gone.
Contrary to popular belief in this town, you can’t build an entire team of big-name stars. To be successful in the NFL, teams need well-rounded utility players like Evans who happily fill in at any of the four defense line positions whenever called upon. The Redskins are now seriously lacking depth on the defensive line and it will be interesting to see how they address the issue and what kind of money they end up spending to fill the hole in the lineup.