The Washington Redskins are used to being in the news during the offseason. Usually it has to do with a big, somewhat controversial free agent signing. That is the case again this year, only this time, the controversy is over a big name free agent they signed a year ago.
Albert Haynesworth, unhappy with the change in defensive scheme, has requested a trade from the nation’s Capitol and refused to attend the Redskins mandatory mini camp that began today. Haynesworth claims he was promised to play a certain style and a certain position when he signed his seven year $100 million deal last summer.
Haynesworth expressed his distaste for the 3-4 defense from the beginning. Head coach Mike Shannahan allowed Haynesworth to explore trade options with other teams before April 1st, the day Haynesworth was due to receive a $21 million bonus. When Haynesworth accepted his check that day, the understanding was that he would cooperate and participate in whatever way he was instructed too.
Instead, Haynesworth continued to demand a trade and continuously skipped voluntary workouts where he was often the only player not in attendance. Now, theses were voluntary workouts, and no one was really holding anything against him at the time. We all knew he was a…um… “minimal worker.” But we were assured time and time again that once workouts became mandatory, he would be there eager to get started. That is obviously not the case.
Haynesworth’s entire attitude while in Washington has rubbed most fans the wrong way. He appears selfish and as if he doesn’t care about the team. It often seems he would rather “get his” than win. This is one of those times. What is most infuriating about this is that he took the money. He promised he would buy into the system to get his bonus, and now he’s trying to cut and run. The Redskins are currently in the process of trying to get back the 21 million dollars they paid him in April.
The other important part of all of this is that his teammates now resent him. Before, the ill will was mostly, if not all, in the eyes of the fans and the general public. Now his teammates are speaking out, and it’s the veterans doing the talking. London Fletcher and Philip Daniels both said that they felt it was a selfish decision that leaves the team feeling abandoned. They can’t trust or depend on him anymore, and that says more than 21 million dollars ever could.
DeAngelo Hall was the closest anyone came to actually protecting Haynesworth, saying that he was promised things when he signed here. However, even he testified to Haynesworth’s “me first” attitude. This is incredibly frustrating. This is an anchor pulling down a team that is trying to lift itself up from a 4-12 record last year.
Every other member of the team has been participating in optional practices. Everyone has been working day and night to adjust to the new system. Donavan McNabb has been possibly working harder than anyone, trying to establish himself as a leader in a new city. Veterans have been spending time grooming the rookies. Nothing but good vibes have been coming out of Redskins Park since the transformation except for anything concerning the man with the fattest contract.
He has turned himself into a cancer in this city and on this team, and he doesn’t care. He has turned himself into a problem that Redskins management is now forced to deal with. Haynesworht can’t be around to team, but with an attitude like that and a contract like he has, what team in their right mind would take him?
No one wants him here. Fans, teammates, and the press have all turned against him, and for good reason. He can't stay. It'll most likely be a hard hit to the team to get rid of him because I can't think of a single team that would want a player with an attitude like that. They will most likely end up having to release him in order to get him away from the organization, in which case they lose out on a huge investment.
If money were no object? I'd keep him and bench him. If it didn't mean paying him 60 million more dollars over the next six years, I wouldn't let him go anywhere else. I wouldn't let him play for me, either. I would make him sit there looking like a 12 girl who won't talk to her mom because she wouldn't let her go to the movies with a boy. Unfortunately, knowing Haynesworth, he would probably like that better than actually playing football.