Monday, August 23, 2010

Sally Jenkins blasts Haynesworth

So much for Albert Haynesworth not becoming any more of a distraction. After Haynesworth passed head coach Mike Shanahan's offseason conditioning test, many Redskins fans hoped that Haynesworth would jump on-board with what the team was trying to do and become a force on the newly installed 3-4 defense. Unfortunately, not only has Haynesworth missed several practices -- he may have been diagnosed with a "muscle condition" -- but he also recently sounded off after the Redskins latest preseason game against the Ravens.

The linked ESPN article above provides a pretty good summary of the current issue:
Haynesworth stopped practicing early Tuesday at training camp and did not practice Wednesday or Thursday. Shanahan gave varying explanations for Haynesworth's idleness each day. The coach initially said Haynesworth "just was sick," then said the cause was dehydration, then finally said it was "more of a headache than anything else."

Haynesworth said Saturday night he had something more, but he didn't specify what.

"You'll have to ask them, but I guess they'll tell you 'headaches' again," said Haynesworth, emphasizing the word by holding his fingers in the air to simulate quotation marks. "It was part of it, but it wasn't all of it. They left out a whole lot of stuff."
Haynesworth was also mad for having to play in the second half with a bunch of reserves: "I'm a ninth-year pro. I don't think I should have been out there in the third quarter."

Predictably, Shanahan stuck to his guns when it came to Haynesworth and practice:
"Albert has gotten away in the past with playing without practicing," Shanahan said. "That will not happen under this regime. If he's going to play, he's going to practice, and that is the same with every player here. The days of him playing without practicing are over.
If Shanahan's comments weren't straightforward enough -- and if the feeling among fans hasn't turned sour enough on anything to do with Haynesworth just yet -- Washington Post columnist Sally Jenkins raked Haynesworth over the coals this morning for failing to grow up and take a leadership role on the Redskins. You should really check out the entire column, but here were a few of her comments:
Shanahan's insistence that Haynesworth get himself into "football shape" isn't some head game he's playing. It's not some ruse to recoup Haynesworth's $21 million offseason bonus check, or some petty little punitive measure by a martinet. It's a matter of non-negotiable, foundational values to Shanahan. To know that, all you have to do is read just a few pages of Shanahan's book, "Think Like a Champion." In fact, just read the dedication. It's to his wife, Peggy. You might expect a love note. Instead, it thanks her for her "commitment, dedication, and sacrifice." Apparently the head coach's wife has more of those qualities than the highest paid member of the Redskins defense. Shanahan can't stand for that - and he won't.
In the past, Haynesworth may have been able to outmaneuver Redskins coaches to get what he wants. But for the first time in years, the coaching staff and front office are on the same page and seemingly stand unified on this issue. Haynesworth can't win this battle, and he's certainly not gaining any allies either.

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