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Allen Park — Lions defensive end Cornelius Washington told reporters he didn’t know why he was benched for the team’s last game against the New Orleans Saints, but coach Jim Caldwell rejected the idea his staff didn’t clearly communicate with the player.

“Trust me when I tell you that we would not have a shortcoming in that area,” Caldwell said. “We’re pretty clear in what we do and how we go about it, and we make certain I think that’s an important part of a team and it’s make up. Communication is very key in that regard.”

On Monday, when asked if he knew why he was scratched from the lineup, Washington said no and asked reporters if they knew why.

“I don’t know what the issue was, so I don’t know what problem to fix if there is a problem to fix,” he said.

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Caldwell implied Washington was informed and may not have wanted to publicly share the reason.

“It may have been something that he might not have wanted to share with you or whatever it might be,” Caldwell said. “I mean that’s their prerogative. But nevertheless, if you know (defensive line coach) Kris (Kocurek) at all, I think you’ve seen his style and his style is not one to run and hide.”

It’s worth repeating, Caldwell said after the game that Washington was not benched for disciplinary reasons.

jdrogers@detroitnews.com

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