Redskins place Su'a Cravens on left squad list; DB had mulled retirement at 22

The Washington Redskins placed safety Su'a Cravens on the reserve/left squad list, ending his season nearly two weeks after he first told them he wanted to retire at age 22.

The Redskins had initially placed him on the exempt/left squad list Sept. 4, giving him a month to reconsider his plans or be lost for the season.

Cravens, a former Trojans player, was seen on the sideline of the Texas-USC game in Los Angeles on Saturday night standing near Washington senior vice president of personnel Doug Williams, who was in town for the Redskins' game against the Los Angeles Rams.

Although a report by the NFL Network suggested that Cravens might return to the team facility this week, Redskins officials on Sunday did not express any hope or knowledge that that might be the case -- or that Cravens had changed his mind about his plans. They had hoped that giving him time to reconsider would help.

This latest move gives Cravens more time to figure out if he wants to play again. It also removes the possibility that had he returned, he could opt to leave again.

In a statement Monday, the team said, "We sincerely hope that Su'a uses this time away from the club to reflect upon whether or not he'd like to resume his career in the National Football League in 2018."

Cravens has three more years on his contract with the Redskins. If he returns, the team still controls his rights for that length of time.

Redskins coach Jay Gruden said during a conference call Monday, before the news broke, that he had not spoken with Cravens since he was placed on the original list two weeks ago.

Safety DeAngelo Hall has maintained contact with Cravens throughout the process.

On Sept. 2, the day of final cuts, Cravens had told team officials that he wanted to retire, a move that stunned them. On the day Cravens told teammates of his intentions, he had been at Redskins Park earlier and had even discussed future plans for him on the field with Gruden. Cravens was due to return soon from a minor knee procedure he underwent in the preseason, and there was no hint of his wanting to quit.

But later that day, while the rest of the team attended a cookout at cornerback Josh Norman's house, Cravens made his plans known in a group chat with fellow secondary members. They were shocked. One player showed Gruden the text message.

Cravens went missing for a day last season when he was dealing with an injury. But a source said he did not bring up retiring at the time. He also went missing for three days while at USC, a source said, but not all the Redskins' decision-makers were aware of that.

Team officials met with Cravens over Labor Day weekend in an effort to persuade him to reconsider and mull whether he really wanted to retire. For the Redskins -- and others who knew him -- Cravens' passion or love for the sport was not in question. They pointed to how he played the game; teammates last season said he had an infectious energy on the field. The Redskins wanted to give Cravens time to work out the personal issues that led to his decision.

"I've seen him at USC, I've watched him at practice," Gruden said earlier this month. "I've watched him play in games, and I know he loves football. So I don't think that's the issue. There are things weighing on his mind that he has to take care of. If he gets those things cleared up, then sure, we will take another look at him. He is one of our guys."