There is never a dull moment at Redskins Park, and today was no different as the team announced that defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth is suspended for the final four games of the 2010 season.
The drama surrounding Haynesworth kicked into gear when he refused to attend any mandatory camps during the offseason. He was the only player who took his option, while the rest wanted to get started right away learning a new system they would have to play under new coaches Mike Shanahan, Kyle Shanahan, and Jim Haslett. Haynesworth cited the fact that he ahs been a veteran in the league and knows how best to prepare himself for the season. He claimed he was working out on his own.
Many of his own teammates said that all would be forgiven if he came in once mandatory workouts began and put in the effort. They said if he came in ready to play, there would be no problem. Well, then Haynesworth missed the first mandatory camp. Everyone thought, ok, he will come in ready for training camp.
That is where the saga (and the showdown between Mike Shanahan and Haynesworth) really began. Haynesworth failed a conditioning test, and was therefore not allowed to participate in camp. All players were given some version of the test, with the requirements varying depending on position. It took Haynesworth 10 days to pass the test.
By then Haynesworth was far behind the curve of learning the new defense, which he resisted (if not refused) to play anyway. He has had some big plays throughout the season, but unfortunately made bigger headlines. The suspension is just the latest is what seems to have been a constant chess match between Shanahan and Haynesworth. And Shanahan is winning.
Shanahan is winning the media battle and is right in the minds of most fans. The two were always going to clash; a coach that values hard work and a lazy player who is late to practice because of hangovers.
We don’t know what the feeling is behind closed doors, but Shanahan released a statement that said, among other things, that Haynesworth told GM Bruce Allen on Monday that he would no longer talk to Shanahan. That seems pretty immature to me, although I admit I’m an outsider.
Also in Shanahan’s statement was a claim that Haynesworth refused to play first and second down situations, preferring to be used on only third and fourth downs. He said that Haynesworth repeatedly ignored what the coaches told him to do in practice and even during the games.
What a coach needs more than anything is control over his players. Shanahan is making the right decision to remove Haynesworth from the team and not let that attitude spread. If he had a choice, Shanahan would probably never pick a player like Haynesworth for his team. It was really only a matter of time.
It makes Haynesworth look immature, Shanahan look vindictive, and the organization look stupid. Alas, its just another Redskins season.