Tea Bag extremists and godless socialist liberals agree on one thing about Washington--Albert Haynesworth is the most despised man in town.
Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan speaks as a man betrayed when he says:
"Obviously he took the check. So I was surprised he wasn’t here [at mini-camp], because I thought he did make that commitment once he took that check, that he wanted to be a Washington Redskin and he wanted to do the best thing for the Washington Redskins to help our defense and help our team win."
Veteran linebacker London Fletcher-Baker says football is not an "all about you sport." He calls Haynesworth selfish for taking an approach that harms the team. Fletcher would welcome him back if Big Al checks his me-first attitude at the door.
Defensive end Philip Daniels feels that Haynesworth turned his back on his fellow players by not showing up today, as most players expected.
Wow. Skins fans take their cue from those guys. If they are disappointed, then hostility towards Haynesworth rises exponentially.
Former Redskins GM Charley Casserly says Haynesworth is on strike. Says Casserly:
"...if I was in [the Redskins'] position, I wouldn't trade him. I'm not setting a precedent in the first year I'm running the team. Even though I didn't sign this guy, and probably wouldn't have signed him to the contract he had, the line is drawn. We're going on without you...."
Columnist Adam Hankins satirically writes that the Redskins have been unfair to Haynesworth (note the word "satirically.")
"For some unknown reason, NFL teams expect players to do what they're told after they have been given a contract. That is completely unfair."
Rumor-monger Pro Football Talk picks up on talk that Haynesworth may be cut. I presume they mean from the roster and not by sharp instruments. Actually, PFT married a comment by Shanahan that "news could happen soon" to musings by Redskins writer David Elfin that he would not be shocked if Haynesworth were released soon.
I cover the Redskins from a business management perspective and that move makes no sense at all for reasons already noted by Casserly.
My friends at DC Pro Sports Report suggest that the hidden reason thatHaynesworth is skipping mini-camp is because Fat Albert is fat and out-of-shape.
CSN Washingtonpicked up Haynesworth's press release explaining his absence:
"When I signed here after meeting all day with the staff and top executives, and talked about the defense that we would run and what my role would be, I was assured I would have the freedom to play to my strengths and I was excited about the future. After many years in the NFL, I know what it takes for me to perform at my highest level."
Haynesworth says he will "continue to work individually to prepare for training camp and the start of the 2010 season."
Albert is in a no-win situation here. Had he actually met with the coaches and participated on the OTAs, he would have standing to say "I met with the coaches and participated in the OTAs and have a clear understanding of my role and have deep concerns."
Instead he appears to be acting on a presumption of his role, rather than what Shanahan and defensive coordinator Jim Haslett have in mind. Haslett says he would move Haynesworth around to be the playmaker he wants to be.
If Haynesworth played forever in the same role that the Tennessee Titans deployed him, his effectiveness would decline. Sooner or later, O-line coaches will figure out how to defend him. Every other team he might go to would use him differently than the Titans did. Coaches want players who conform to the scheme rather than the other way around.
Now, GMs will wonder how they can motivate Haynesworth to play the way they need him to play. It's apparent that money won't do it. Other teams aren't about to offer Big Al what the Redskins did.
Shanny says he was open to a trade of Haynesworth if Big Al found a trade partner before his $21 million roster bonus was due on April Fools Day. That fueled rumors of an imminent trade even during the run up to the 2010 Draft.
None of those stories panned out. One suspects that other teams were hesitant to offer a fair value for one of the league's more petulant players. Plenty of GMs are happy to let Danny Snyder stew in the juices of what looks more and more like Washington's dumbest free agent deal since Adam Archuleta.
Washington's more professional front office wasn't about to just give Haynesworth away. (I shudder to think how this would have gone down if Vinny was still around.)
Breaking his comfort zone is key to Haynesworth finding a new team. That's more true today than when I wrote it yesterday.