Albert Haynesworth is sitting out mandatory minicamps and demanding a trade, and he’s losing the respect of his teammates because of it. Mike Shanahan, coach of the Redskins, was surprised that Haynesworth wasn’t there … and given the facts surrounding the situation, Shanahan’s reaction is quite unsurprising.
Albert Haynesworth, once the prized free-agent signing, is unhappy with changes in the defensive scheme and is now pouting like a child who can’t have his way. But the defensive tackle isn’t the only one at fault; the Redskins had an opportunity to move Haynesworth, but instead chose to pay him 21 million dollars. Because that makes complete sense. ESPN reports:
Coach Mike Shanahan revealed that the Redskins told Haynesworth in February that they would agree to release him and let him go to another team — in exchange for not paying him a $21 million bonus due April 1.
“Obviously, he took the check,” Shanahan said, “so I was surprised he wasn’t here today. … Don’t take our check and then say that, hey, you don’t want to be part of our organization.”
The Redskins are now pursuing the return of that $21 million payment, league sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
Shanahan did not say what the Redskins will do next. They could release Haynesworth, try to trade him or keep him on the roster and force another showdown when training camp opens July 29.
So let’s get this right … the guy who once stomped on another guy’s face while wearing football cleats turned out to be a less than upstanding individual? You can’t blame this on Shanahan, though; this problem was created by Dan Snyder when he brought Albert from Tennessee, paid him enough money that he could relax and enjoy notoriety, and failed to move him after seeing the ill effects rearing their heads. I understand not giving up on a contract too soon, but in some cases you absolutely have to pull the trigger, and this was one of them. Now he has his bonus, which is more of a power piece in this situation, something that can potentially be used as a bargaining chip to force the trade, unless the NFL sees fit to grant the bonus repaid to the Redskins. So long as Haynesworth is a member of the Redskins, they have no real grounds to get that money back, so by granting him this trade they make it easier to recoup their blown 21mil.
The locker room has turned on Albert, which was to be expected. You can’t fault them for feeling betrayed, especially as the offseason moves had lent a sense of optimism to the squad. Teammate reaction, from ESPN:
“Albert made a very selfish decision,” veteran linebacker London Fletcher said. “When you decide to play a team sport, you have to look at it and think about everybody involved in the situation. This is not golf, tennis, things like that, where it’s an all-about-you sport. What he’s decided to do is make a decision based on all-about-him.
“It’s no different than his attitude and approach to last year’s defense, about wanting everything to revolve around him and him making plays. And if it didn’t benefit him, he wasn’t really willing to do it.”
His teammates, including several respected veterans, were scathing in their comments Wednesday. If Haynesworth does show up for training camp, there will be some fences to mend.
Defensive end Phillip Daniels: “I think I speak for every guy on this team: We all feel like he turned his back on us.”
Center Casey Rabach: “It’s getting to be selfish. He’s hurting the team. It doesn’t sit well with the players. … You can’t really count on him right now.”
Fletcher: “There’s ways he cannot be a Redskin: Give the money back. We’ll move on without him. I want teammates who I can depend on, who I can count on, who in the fourth quarter I know is going to be there to make a play or do his job that the defense calls [for]. We need people that we can depend on. And at the end of the day, right now, he’s showing that he can’t be depended upon. … Last year we had a lot of selfishness that took place, and we got 4-12 out of that. This year, we can’t have that.”
There seems to be no plausible way for this situation to be resolved amicably, so a safe assumption is that Albert heads out of town and returns the bonus on his way out. Mike Shanahan won’t put up with him, and neither will the rest of the Redskins, so it’s best that they cut their losses and move ahead with what could be a very exciting 2010 season.
Glen Davis is trying to give his nickname away … I think we have a match.