Had a nice conversation with LaVar Arrington's agent, Kevin Poston, this morning to go over some things. There have been a lot of rumors about LaVar retiring, and several of his former teammates have suggested to me they had talked to him and thought it was possible.
Poston says LaVar is about a month away from being able to run and jump well enough to pass an NFL physical, but is making good strides recovering from the Achilles injury that ended his season and led to his release by the Giants. Poston said LaVar is working hard and, while not entirely ruling out a change of heart at some point, said the former Pro Bowler has every intention of playing football in 2007.
"Things could change at some point, but as of this moment LaVar is focused on playing this season," Poston told me while I jotted down notes in the canned-food isle of my local Safeway (thank goodness for cellphones). "I just spoke to him again over the weekend and he wants to continue playing. He's progressing well and LaVar is still young. Injuries are a part of this game and he's getting over the Achilles and there has been some interest in him (as a free agent) already. You look at the money being spent out there on guys who are 33, 34 years old, and LaVar is 28 (turns 29 in June) and has some good years left."
Poston equated Arrington's situation with that of Ty Law a few years back. Law entered the free-agent market late due to health concerns, then ended up making solid money. LaVar has not been healthy since 2003, however, so I doubt he's going to be get anything other than incentive-laden deals.
I told Kevin about some other players saying LaVar seemed down, and he said LaVar has been in good spirits, but, through the course of another tough recovery, had times when he thought more about life after football. I got the impression that coming back wasn't a 100 percent slam dunk for LaVar, and may not still be if he can't pass a physical in another six weeks or so.
The bottom line is that this dude is going to have a lot of possibilities after the game is over, regardless. He has a natural charisma, loves being around people, is articulate and out-spoken. I could see him being on a reality TV show, doing some acting, working in the media as an analyst or heck, if his body was up to it, doing some kind of promotion with the WWE or something.
Kevin agreed that LaVar could go in several different directions when he is finished playing, but said that could be several years off.
"He's got to be able to run and jump and do all the things he needs to do to play football, and we're just not there yet," Poston said. "We're kind of in a holding pattern right now, but we've heard from some teams and right now LaVar is committed to playing football."
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