Playing devil’s advocate with the Albert Haynesworth situation

While the rest of us fans and media members are playing the bongos with Albert Haynesworth’s vital organs this week, columnist Patrick Hruby decided to play devil’s advocate with the defensive end’s situation. Hruby even goes as far as to write that he’s sympathetic to Haynesworth.

Here’s the crux of Hruby’s argument:

Haynesworth’s argument essentially goes like this:

I signed with the Redskins expecting to be a havoc-creating, quarterback-attacking playmaker in a 4-3 defense. That’s the role in which I excel; that’s the style of play I enjoy; that’s what was promised during my free-agent courtship. Only now, the team has shifted to a new coaching staff and a new 3-4 scheme, which basically asks me to eat double-team blocks. Thanks, but no thanks. I’d like a little more excitement. A lot more glory. Please send me somewhere else.

Is that really so awful? So craven?

Because this column is about the 6-foot-6, 350-pound Haynesworth — and not, say, the 5-6, 185-pound Darren Sproles — let’s try a food analogy. Imagine you’re a pastry chef. The top pastry chef in New York. A bunch of restaurants want you. One restaurant offers you more money than the others, plus the opportunity to run the dessert menu. You take it. A year later, the same restaurant switches to an all-fondue format and demands that you become a sous chef, chopping chocolate-dippable fruit wedges in the back room.

Technically, you’re still preparing dessert. And you’re still working with sugar. Woo-hoo! But otherwise, it’s not exactly the gig you signed up for. Would you be annoyed? Feeling jerked around? Would you maybe call in sick and check the restaurant want ads, even though you’re perfectly healthy? Would you try to prepare apple tarts somewhere else, perhaps move to a soufflé-friendly city like Boston or Philadelphia?

You would? Good. ‘Cause all of the above is pretty much Haynesworth’s situation. A situation that makes his reaction both understandably human and adult, as opposed to that of the world’s largest pouting toddler.

It’s a fair point, but it only works if the Redskins promised Haynesworth that he wouldn’t have to play in the 3-4. He and his agent claim that’s what the Redskins told him, but there is no proof of that to my knowledge. (Side Note: If anyone has record of the Redskins telling Haynesworth he didn’t have to play in the 3-4, feel free to share it.)

Hruby goes on…

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Redskins to Haynesworth: We want our money back.

Per Adam Schefter at, the Redskins will try to recoup the $21 million option bonus that they recently paid Albert Haynesworth, who has decided to skip all team activities this offseason because he’s a gigantic crybaby he thinks Washington will waste his talents in a 3-4 defensive alignment.

Before Haynesworth made the decision not to report to the Redskins mandatory minicamp that kicked off Wednesday, the NFL Players Association assured him that the bonus money on the contract he restructured on March 12 would be his to keep, one source said.

But another knowledgeable NFL source that reviewed Haynesworth’s contract and the collective bargaining agreement Wednesday morning said this issue is “open to interpretation” now that the defensive tackle has declined to report to a mandatory minicamp and the Redskins are expected to pursue whatever money they can. The source added, “this is the type of case where a longshot may be given an extra hard look because it is so egregious.”

The egregious part is that Haynesworth is basically stealing from the Skins. They paid him for his services and instead of honoring his contract, he has decided to throw a hissy fit about playing in a defense that he doesn’t like. Talk about a backwards situation.

Perhaps the most interesting part of Schefter’s report is this little nugget:

It also puts the NFLPA in a difficult spot, since it will have to take a stand publicly defending Haynesworth. While players such as Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson and New England Patriots guard Logan Mankins want lucrative new deals, Haynesworth became the highest paid player in history at his position — and then chose not to honor the contract because he didn’t like the way he was going to be used in the Redskins defense.

In the end, the NFLPA will have to defend Haynesworth. But that will not endear it to the public at a time when it is gearing up to battle the NFL on a new collective bargaining agreement.

No kidding. Haynesworth was paid $21 million to sit on his ass, while Johnson is actually in line for a raise and is getting nowhere with the Titans. The NFLPA won’t come out of this situation smelling like the bread aisle of a grocery store if it’s forced to back Haynesworth, who is clearly unappreciative of his current situation and who is just looking for an easy way out. I don’t care if it is a long shot – I’m glad to see that the Redskins are taking a proactive approach to the situation and trying to get their money back.

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