Dwayne Haskins won’t start at quarterback for the Washington Football Team again, as the franchise released the second-year quarterback on Monday.
“This afternoon I met with Dwayne and informed him that we would be releasing him,” Washington head coach Ron Rivera said in a statement. “I told him that I believe it benefits both parties that we go our separate ways. We want to thank Dwayne for his contributions these last two seasons and wish him well moving forward.”
The 2019 first-round pick out of Ohio State had been benched in favor of former fourth-stringer Taylor Heinicke in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 20-13 loss to the Carolina Panthers.
After the game, the 23-year-old Haskins said that he needs to “get my life together” following a week that also included him getting fined $40,000 and losing his captaincy for partying with strippers without a mask in violation of the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols. He also had been fined nearly $5,000 in October for inviting a family friend to the team hotel, another rules violation.
“Definitely the hardest week of my life,” Haskins said after the game. “I just want to bounce back and move forward, pray and get my life together.
“You sign up for this job and sometimes being human isn’t enough.”
Rivera announced earlier Monday that Heinicke will start the season finale with the NFC East title on the line if injured Alex Smith (calf) is unable to play Sunday night in Philadelphia.
The winner of the 1 p.m. game between the Giants and the Dallas Cowboys would be crowned NFC East champions if first-place Washington (6-9) loses to the eliminated Eagles.
Heinicke, the former Old Dominion quarterback with seven previous games (one start) of NFL experience, completed 12 of 19 pass attempts for 137 yards and one touchdown without an interception after replacing Haskins, who threw two interceptions and committed a fumble in the loss.
“I thought there are a lot of positives to it,” Rivera said of Heinicke. “I think he showed what I was hoping to see when he got his opportunity, that it wasn’t too big.”
Rivera added that the 36-year-old Smith “was very close last week” before missing his second straight game with a strained calf. The 14-year veteran had led Washington to four wins in five starts in his return to the field after missing all of last season with serious leg injuries suffered in Nov. 2018.
“I thought he had an exceptional day on Friday, but it’s always about how that person feels the next day and he felt it was still grabbing him a little bit,” Rivera said of Smith. “This week, I’m optimistic about the opportunity.”
Haskins, the 15th overall pick in the 2019 draft, will not get another opportunity with the organization.
Haskins was benched in October after four games and reportedly requested a trade earlier this season, but injuries to Brandon Allen and Smith necessitated his return to the starting lineup in a Week 15 loss to Seattle. He has five touchdown passes and seven interceptions in seven appearances (six starts) this season.