Here’s a news flash for you: Albert Haynesworth is not happy.
Shocker, I know.
In fact, the diva defensive tackle is so unhappy that, through his agent Chad Speck, Haynesworth has let the world know that he is skipping this week’s mandatory minicamps in hopes of landing a trade to get him away from the Washington Redskins as quickly as possible.
The only question is how does Haynesworth spend his free time now that his schedule has suddenly freed up this week? Does he continue to work out with his “miracle worker” trainer? Does he invite ESPN out to do a followup on his big-ass boat? Or does he fly up to New York to spend some quality time with his pregnant stripper ex-girlfriend? If that’s the case, then I suggest he not invite Vince Young to tag along. Trust me. It’s for the best.
“The Redskins are trying to establish a new regime with new schemes at Redskins Park, and it is not an organization that Albert would have ever been attracted to just a short year ago – regardless of the money,” said Speck. “He has made it clear to me that he does not want to play for the Washington Redskins.
“This situation will be a distraction to the Redskins and to Albert and his teammates,” Speck continued. “I am certain [head coach] Mike [Shanahan] and [general manager] Bruce [Allen] want to get the most out of their first year, and it’s probably in everyone’s best interests for the Redskins to make a deal and trade Albert.”
Wait a minute. Did this guy really just say that Haynesworth’s situation “will” be a distraction? As in future tense? I hope this guy got paid up front because he’s not doing a very good job of staying on top of this story. Truth is, Haynesworth has been a distraction since the minute he arrived in town.
Here’s what I had to say last March on the signing of Haynesworth:
“From all of us at Homer McFanboy to all of you in Redskins Nation we have just one word of advice – please proceed with caution.”
And it’s not like I was the only one smart enough to see the warning signs. The guy has All-Pro talent, but questionable (at best) work ethic, he’s selfish and he’s never played well with others. Part of me also believes that Haynesworth doesn’t truly love the game of football.
He isn’t someone who eat and sleeps football. He isn’t a gym rat or someone who spends every waking minute after a loss trying to figure out what went wrong and what he can do to prevent his team from failing again. No, Haynesworth looks at football as a job and is happy to do the bare minimum while collecting a fat paycheck.
Think of him as JaMarcus Russell, but with talent.
He plays the game because he’s got the size and the ability. Not because it’s what he always dreamed of doing.
And that’s fine. Nowhere in his contract does it say “You must play for the love of the game.” But it’s something prospective employers should know about him before going into business with him.
When Speck says that Haynesworth would never have been attracted to the Redskins a year ago if they were run by Shanahan and Allen, he’s all but admitting what we already know. Fat Albert was happy to play here because owner Daniel Snyder threw a ridiculous $100-million contract at him and because the former coaching staff was a joke.
Head coach Jim Zorn was a nice guy who was in completely over his head, general manager Vinny Cerrato wanted to be buddy-buddy with the players and all defensive coordinator Greg Blache wanted to do was retire. Haynesworth knew he could get away with murder, and he did what he wanted, when he wanted.
Now, with actual competent and qualified people in those positions, Haynesworth would actually be held accountable for his actions. He’d be held to the same standard as his teammates. He’d be playing for a two-time Super Bowl winning coach who has seen it all before. No excuses. No bullshit. You try to stage a protest on Christmas day against Shanahan and you might as well keep walking. He doesn’t have time to play games with grown men.
Everyone involved has known since the minute the new regime took over that this marriage wasn’t going to work. In the immortal words of Joe Theismann, “It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon” to see that Haynesworth had no future with the Redskins.
When a new coaching staff comes in, they only have one chance to make a first impression. Shanahan showed up and immediately let it be known that you either buy in to what he’s selling or he’s got no need for you. A franchise in dire need of structure and discipline finally found a man who was happen to uphold the law.
He even made it clear on day one he expected his veteran players to set an example for the younger guys by participating in all of the “optional” workouts and minicamps. And everyone got on board. Everyone, that is, except Haynesworth.
And we can all safely assume that Haynesworth would have been traded months ago had the team received a single offer they felt was even remotely fair. Hell, they might have even settled for a second- or third-round pick for the big man. But it was clear to the 31 other teams what was going on. So the situation has become a high-stakes poker game. Who blinks first?
If I’m Shanahan or Allen, I stick to my guns. I refuse to budge. If teams come calling about the possibility of acquiring Haynesworth, I stick to whatever value has been set internally. If no teams are willing to meet my demands, then Haynesworth stays. If that’s unbearable, then he can go the LaVar Arrington route and buy back his freedom. He made $32 million already, so give back half of it and you can be a free agent tomorrow. I mean, your agent said it’s not about the money. It’s about the situation. If that’s true, then there shouldn’t be an issue giving back a chunk of it to get out of dodge.
And at the end of the day, if teams don’t offer a satisfactory trade and Haynesworth isn’t willing to give any money back, then he can sit out the season. Force him to quit acting like an individual and, for the first time in his life, to put the team ahead of himself. If he’s not willing to do that, then he’s going to be well rested. Because he sure as hell won’t see the field anytime soon.