Kudos to the Redskins for suspending Albert Haynesworth

GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 02: Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth  of the Washington Redskins stands on the sidelines during preseason NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 2, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Redskins 20-10. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

When it comes to the ongoing battle between Albert Haynesworth and the Redskins (especially head coach Mike Shanahan), I often feel as though the team should just cut its losses and move on. After all, Haynesworth doesn’t want to play for Shanahan, he doesn’t want to play in a 3-4 and obviously he’ll continue to be a distraction until he gets out of D.C.

But after giving it more thought, I actually like how the Redskins are handling the situation. Haynesworth reportedly showed up hungover to Friday’s practice and he also missed a team meeting. He apparently told GM Bruce Allen on Monday that he’s no longer speaking to Shanahan, who issued a statement saying that Haynesworth “refused to play in our base defense or on first-down or second-down nickel situations” and “refused to follow the instructions of our coaches both during weekly practices and during actual games.”

So the Redskins suspended him the final four games of the season without pay. Haynesworth will no doubt appeal the suspension and he may win after the NFLPA makes a case that the Redskins have no basis to stop paying him. But no matter how this situation ends (his tenure in Washington is almost surely over), kudus to the Skins for not giving in to what Haynesworth ultimately wants (i.e. to be released).

Shanahan has a massive ego and he is partly to blame for the way things turned out. Could he have handled the situation better and maybe turned a negative into a positive? Yes, but that ship has sailed now. It’s time for the Skins to put up a collective front.

They’ve already paid Haynesworth $36.5 million for two seasons and he’s done very little to earn that money. So why reward him by cutting him and giving him the opportunity to play elsewhere? If the Redskins aren’t getting what they want (i.e. a productive defensive tackle who doesn’t moonlight as a pain in the ass), why should he get what he wants?

Chances are this situation won’t go down smoothly but I applaud the Redskins for digging in their heels and not releasing him. Granted, it may be a stubborn move and let’s not overlook the fact that this is all Daniel Snyder’s fault for paying this guy millions of dollars upfront when Haynesworth had a history of being a malcontent. But at this point, I like what the Skins are doing.

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Blame lies at Snyder’s feet for Albert Haynesworth fiasco

Daniel Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins NFL team, smiles on the field before their pre-season game against the Baltimore Ravens in Landover, Maryland, August 21, 2010. REUTERS/Jason Reed  (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

If Daniel Snyder were looking for someone to blame for the way things have unraveled in Washington with the Albert Haynesworth situation, then all he has to do is plant himself in front of a mirror.

I get that this may be an oversimplified way of looking at the situation, but considering this could have all been avoided had Snyder not fallen victim to the same losing methods that he has embraced over the years, the situation is rather simple to grasp.

Haynesworth is who he is and the same goes for Mike Shanahan. As Shanahan has alluded to, Haynesworth is used to getting his way but that’s not going to fly with his new head coach, who has proven in his short stint with the Redskins that his players will fall in line. If you play for him, you’re going to do things his way, which includes practicing if you want to suit up on Sundays.

If Snyder wanted to avoid this situation, all he had to do was pass on cutting (figuratively, of course) Haynesworth a $100 million check last offseason. But because he had to have Haynesworth’s talent, it didn’t matter what the defensive tackle’s track record looked like.

And let’s look at that track record for a moment.

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There’s still time for Albert Haynesworth to turn things around in D.C.

CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 11:  Albert Haynesworth #92 of Washington Redskins looks at the scoreboard against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on October 11, 2009 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Chris Russell of 980 ESPN reports via his Twitter page that Redskins’ defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth will arrive early for training camp on Wednesday in an effort to reach out to head coach Mike Shanahan.

That’s good news, but it’s only a start.

Although they were few and far between, some believed that Haynesworth was within his rights to complain about his situation in Washington. They said that because the Redskins switched their defense from a 4-3 to a 3-4 and wanted Haynesworth to play defensive end that he should have begged his way out of Washington.

But while that argument made sense on the surface, it completely ignored the fact that Haynesworth questioned the Redskins’ scheme last year as well – when he was playing in a 4-3. Following a 45-12 loss to the Giants on MNF, Haynesworth stated that he couldn’t survive another season in Greg Blache’s system.

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Sapp latest to rip Haynesworth

While he’s a little late to the party, Warren Sapp is the latest media member to bash Albert Haynesworth about the way he has handled his contract situation with the Redskins this offseason.

From the Washington Post:

Let’s stop the BS, like we like to say,” Sapp told Vic Carucci and Howard Balzer on SiRIUS NFL Radio. “I mean, c’mon, son. You sat at the table. The people told you they had a very lovely check for you….Albert Haynesworth, you took the check, now show up to the job, son. It’s that simple. You take that kind of check. I mean, I’ll flip dogs for you. I mean, c’mon, what you want me to do, you want me to return punts? I mean, what? C’mon. Stop it. Stop it. Stop it.”

Then Sapp was asked whether Haynesworth should be considered a dominant defensive tackle when he’s playing and healthy, possibly the best defensive player in the game.

“No. No. No,” Sapp said. “He’s not consistent enough. The numbers aren’t there. I mean, I saw the four plays in a row playing the Atlanta Falcons when he was on the goal line, he looks like a manchild. Some of those games he was running, him and [Kyle] Vanden Bosch, they really had that defense rolling. He was playing the game the way it was supposed to be played.

“But you can’t tell me that a man that has, what, [28] sacks in his life is one of the most dominant players to ever play this game. I mean, I don’t remember that game where he took it over, you know what I’m saying? I remember me and Brett Favre up in Green Bay going at it in the playoff game. I don’t have that signature game for Haynesworth. I don’t have that signature season. Don’t give me one. That’s a rule of ours, isn’t it? I mean, one’s a fluke. Two, you become consistent. Now three, you’ve arrived. I don’t think the man’s had a 10-sack season. I mean, Tony Dungy told me when I was playing the game, he said you want to be arrived in this game, you’ve got to get to 10 sacks. That’s what I tell all young defensive tackles, you want a name in this game, rush like an end, and then you get in the conversation.”

I agree that Haynesworth isn’t the most dominating defensive players to have ever played the game, but let’s not shortchange him because of his selfish attitude. While I think the Vikings’ Kevin Williams has been a better overall defensive tackle than Haynesworth over the last three years, Albert is still one of those rare DTs that can play the run and provide a solid pass rush. And while other players may outperform him in a given year (take the Falcons’ Jonathan Babineaux and the Ravens’ Kelly Gregg in 2009 for example), he’s still a dominating force when healthy.

While I think he’s shooting from the hip a bit with his comments, Sapp does have a point about Haynesworth not having a signature game to his credit. There hasn’t been one time where Haynesworth has completely taken over a game, unlike Sapp, who was outstanding for many years in Tampa.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Haynesworth: “I have always planned to attend training camp and honor my contract.”

Albert Haynesworth is going to honor his contract and show up to training camp.

Apparently he was always planning on doing that.

Seriously – his words.

“Despite my current differences with the Redskins, I have always planned to attend training camp and honor my contract,”

This was the same man that has skipped all of the Redskins’ OTAs (mandatory or otherwise) this offseason, demanded a trade via his agent, and who has been lambasted by the media and his own teammates for being selfish. But he was always planning on attending training camp and honoring his contract. Really, you don’t say? Had me fooled.

All this man cares about is money and anyone who tries to convince me otherwise is drunk. I wouldn’t be shocked if someone finally got to him and made him realize that he stood to lose a lot of money if he didn’t report to camp.

“Hey Al, got a minute? It’s your No. 1 agent, Chad Speck! Listen, I’m going to need you to get your big, beautiful ass to training camp so you don’t get fined any more than you have. I would hate to see the Redskins go after that $21 million bonus check, too. I’ve got a Porsche in the driveway and that ain’t cheap to fill up, my man! Haha, you feel me? Yeah………so just honor your damn contract.”

Daniel Snyder should have never paid this mope $100 million and Haynesworth should have honored his contract from the beginning by showing up to at least the mandatory camps this offseason. Seeing as how he alienated himself by being selfish, who knows how his teammates will react once he finally arrives. Either way, both parties have to sleep in the beds they’ve made.

Of course, all his teammates will care about in the end is if he helps them win. This situation will blow over rather quickly if Haynesworth shows some class and puts in a little hard work. Not that he knows what either of those things mean.

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