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Breaking Down Washington’s Backfield After Releasing Derrius Guice
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The Washington Football Team wasted no time in removing Derrius Guice from its roster, just hours after the former second-round pick had been arrested on domestic violence-related charges. Washington head coach Ron Rivera didn’t need to explain his decision in great detail, but that is part of the culture change going on with the team — which Rivera is responsible in building. 

“I made a decision I believe was in the best interest of the organization, players and our fans going forward,” Rivera said in a conference call Monday, via NFL.com. “A very difficult decision. Any time you have to release a very talented young football player, it’s always a tough decision. 

“But this type of circumstance, this type of situation, we take those allegations very, very seriously. And we had to make a decision going forward. Sometimes it’s one of these things where there are processes. … Each circumstance is unique, each one will be handled and dealt with differently, to what we believe is best for the organization going forward.”

The decision to remove Guice from the roster was a warning sign from Rivera those actions will not be tolerated, with Rivera’s actions speaking much louder than words. As a first year head coach, it’s Rivera’s job to establish a blueprint that his players must follow — on and off the field — and the Guice incident was his first true test. 

And it wasn’t an easy decision for Rivera to remove a talented young running back form the roster in Guice, especially considering another monumental decision that happened less than 48 hours later with linebacker Reuben Foster — who was arrested multiple times on domestic violence changes when he played for the San Francisco 49ers.

Washington claimed Foster off waivers from the 49ers in 2018 after he was arrested for domestic violence. Of course, Rivera was the head coach with the Carolina Panthers when Washington made that move, but Rivera was the coach who activated Foster from the Physically Unable to Perform list Sunday. 

It’s worth mentioning an internal NFL investigation found no evidence to support Foster being suspended, which led to him being reinstated to the active roster. Foster was still fined two game checks and put into an accountability plan developed in conjunction with Washington and the NFLPA. The accountability plan included counseling, a living arrangement, weekly meetings, and community service, which may be why Rivera is willing to work with him. 

“I think the biggest thing is Reuben was claimed here, and as he went through the process, certain things came out and he had his moment to be able to settle himself in and show that he was exonerated for the most part,” Rivera said, via JP Finlay of NBC Sports Washington. “Reuben and I have talked about some things, some specific stuff — I’m not going to get into the details — but the one thing that Reuben has really shown since I’ve been here is that he’s doing things the right way. He’s doing things the way that we need him to do. He’s been excellent, he really has.” 

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