Ravens: Fabian Washington turns in professional performance

November 29, 2010 | Drew Forrester

the first guy off the sidelines to greet Wilson with a flying hip bump. Such a response wouldn’t usually come from the guy who just lost his job to the guy who just took his job. That’s called “taking it like a man”.

Washington played sparingly against Atlanta and Carolina and then was a healthy scratch yesterday against the Buccaneers.

It’s one thing to be benched. It’s another thing to walk in the locker room at 1:00 pm and see your locker empty. No jersey=no action in the NFL.

Afterwards, Washington again handled his latest disappointment with great grace and professionalism. Instead of pitching a fit, “tweeting” his frustration or using the media to rattle the coach’s cage, Fabian Washington did what few humbled athletes do these days.

He said all the right things. And he meant them all.

There was no bellyaching. No pointing the finger at someone else. No complaining about the Ravens woeful pass rush that leaves defensive backs far more vulnerable than any staff member wants to admit. And there wasn’t a whisper of anger or contempt from Washington after the darkest day of his NFL career.

“I’ll just keep pushing ahead,” Washington said after the game. “That’s what you do in circumstances like this. You keep working hard and stay ready. I know I’m going to play again.”

Reporters tried to press the cornerback into fanning the flames after his “scratch”, but he’d have none of it. “We won. We’re 8-3. All I plan on doing is to keep pushing hard. I’ll get my chance again.”

After every disappointment this year — the benching in the Buffalo and Miami games and the reduced playing time thereafter — Washington has remained ultra-professional.

No sniping or griping, no pining or whining.

Now, we’re all big-boy-enough to know that perhaps Washington’s play has dropped off to the point that the club won’t use him anymore this season unless injuries or someone’s poor play dictates it. Washington himself seems resigned to that fact.

But we’re also football-smart enough to know that there’s a high likelihood Washington will play again this season.

I don’t know about you, but he’s just become my new favorite player for the way he handled his demotion.

Derrick Mason didn’t get a ball thrown to him in the 4th quarter of a game at Carolina and he blew a fuse in the middle of the field.

Fabian Washington was told he wasn’t one of the team’s best 45 players on Sunday and you wouldn’t have ever known that based on his comments afterwards.

I’ll be rooting for him later this season when the Ravens need him.

And no matter how he performs, I’ll remember him more for what he said on Sunday, a day he deemed as his “lowest point”.

Others on the Ravens could learn a huge lesson from Fabian Washington.

Stay professional.