Albert Haynesworth’s willingness to accept payment has cost him credibility with new Washington Redskins’ coach Mike Shanahan.
Haynesworth, the former Tennessee Titans’ defensive tackle, was absent from a mandatory mini-camp on Wednesday after having missed numerous voluntary team activities during the offseason. He has made it known publicly that he is unhappy with the team’s decision to switch to a 3-4 defensive scheme under Shanahan.
“On April 1, when we owed him a check for $21 million dollars, we said, ’If you take that check, we do expect you to be the best defensive end, the best nose tackle – if we play you at free safety, we expect you to be the best free safety,’ even though he’d have to lose a little weight,” Shanahan said following Monday’s workout. “Whatever position we play him at, that he would have to do the best job he possibly could and make the commitment to be the best football player.
“Obviously he took the check.”
Hayneswworth left the Titans as a free agent in March 2009 and signed a $100 million contract with Washington. He had 29 tackles and four sacks in his first season with the Redskins, down from 51 and 8.5 in his final season with Tennessee.
The 28-year-old with more than 100 games of NFL experience issued a statement to Washington D.C.-area media Tuesday night regarding his approach to the current situation.
“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,” he said. “After many years in the NFL, I know what it takes for me to perform at my highest level. … I will continue to work individually to prepare for training camp and the start of the 2010 season.”
Shanahan said he met with Haynesworth shortly after he was hired and at that time afforded him and agent Chad Speck the opportunity to pursue a trade to another team. The stance of the franchise changed, however, upon payment of the April 1 bonus.
“When I first talked with Albert back in February, and got a good feel on how he felt, and sat down and talked with his agent, we let Albert know at that time that we would give him until April 1 to go to any team he wanted to in the National Football League,” Shanahan said. “ … 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. Obviously it didn’t go in that direction.”