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Redskins placing Su'a Cravens on exempt list

RICHMOND VA- AUGUST 12 Washington Redskins helmet rest on the field during Redskins training camp

The 6-foot-1, 224-pound Cravens, a second-round pick out of USC in 2016, recorded 34 tackles, one sack and one interception in 11 games (three starts) during his rookie season.

Cravens, in the group message, praised each of his teammates for their skills and expressed gratitude for them and their role in his life.

According to several reports, Cravens told teammates he plans to retire at the age of 22.

After a biceps injury late in December turned out not to be a tear, there was hope Cravens would return, but he never did. (He also saw time at linebacker last season, as he did in college.) He injured his knee in the team's first preseason game and had surgery to fix a torn meniscus but was expected to be ready for the opener against the Eagles.

One person who played with Cravens in the past and considers him a friend said he was not surprised when he heard the news Sunday.

Fellow Redskins safety D.J. Swearinger told ESPN the news of Cravens' possible retirement was "shocking". "(Cravens has) got to handle what he needs to handle, whether it's mental, whether it's family. But the team said Gruden will speak to reporters on Tuesday. He may be wondering if it's all worth it and has said multiple times football doesn't define him. The Philadelphia Eagles signed former Redskins QB Nate Sudfeld to their practice squad. Cravens returned to action in Week 7. If the ultra-talented Cravens does indeed retire, it would be a major blow for the Redskins.

Excited about his potential as a playmaker, coaches named him the starting strong safety entering spring practices although Cravens hasn't played that position full time since his freshman year at Southern California.

ESPN first reported Cravens considering retirement.

Redskins officials, when forming the 53-man roster on Saturday, went with five safeties (Cravens, Swearinger, Deshazor Everett, rookie Montae Nicholson and first-year pro Stefan McClure).

Cravens injured his knee during the preseason opener after working as a starter throughout training camp.