Niles Paul sounds resigned to leaving Redskins

Brian Tinsman
March 09, 2018 - 12:08 am

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports


On the eve of free agency, one of the longest-tenured Washington Redskins players seems to have gotten some bad news from the only employer he's ever known.

Tight end Niles Paul tweeted the following, which appears to be directed at the Redskins: "Stayed down, played my role, & always put the team before myself. S--t wild, but I don’t even know why I’m acting surprised."

He followed that up sometime later, saying: "Never fold, this game will test ya."

Paul was drafted as a receiver out of Nebraska in 2011, but even after switching to tight end, he never succeeded in finding a consistent role on offense. Shanahan once compared him to Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe, but the opportunities never materialized. After backing up Chris Cooley and Fred Davis, Paul fell behind Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis in recent seasons.

Possessing reckless speed for his size, Paul was a sensation on special teams, where he delivered some of the biggest hits still legally allowed in the game. He also took his share of punishment, including ankle injuries and concussions, like the one he withstood last season while playing fullback.

Ever the professional, Paul was a leader among teammates and a trusted resource by coaches. He was named a captain in each of the last two seasons and has been with the team as long or longer than all but two teammates.

Unfortunately, football is a business--just ask the coaches if he leaves in free agency.

"This is home for me," Paul told the media after the season, expressing his desire to stay. "I’ve seen the progression of Redskins Park. I was here when we didn’t have a bubble. I was here when we didn’t even have a good cafeteria or a nice locker room. I feel like I’ve grown with this building."

And now, he may have to continue that growth elsewhere. Free agency begins at 4 p.m. on March 14.


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