Albert Haynesworth said Friday he hasn’t yet made up his mind as to whether he will report to Baptist Sports Park on Monday with his teammates for the beginning of the Tennessee Titans’ off-season conditioning program.
The Titans placed the franchise tag on the defensive tackle on Feb. 20, which gives him the option of not reporting for any off-season work with the team if he so chooses. Haynesworth must sign the tender offer to take part in off-season work because he is not currently under contract with the Titans.
Off-season work is not mandatory, except for organized team activities, but players are strongly encouraged to attend. Franchised players are not required to participate in OTAs and often use not reporting and not signing the tender in the off-season as leverage in negotiations.
“I haven’t decided yet,” Haynesworth said. “You’ll have to call Chad [Speck] and talk to him about it.”
Speck did not when Haynesworth might sign the tender, making him eligible to take part in off-season work, but in regards to negotiations indicated in an e-mail, “I have had very little communication with the Titans since the Combine regarding Albert's contract.”
It was speculated that Haynesworth might attend the off-season program as a show of good faith, but that remains up in the air as the off-season work begins.
Haynesworth, the Titans’ first-round pick in the 2002 draft, is coming off an All-Pro season in which he had six sacks and 23 quarterback pressures. His presence and play helped lift the Titans defense from the 32nd ranking in 2006 to fifth overall in 2007. For that, he was rewarded with his first Pro Bowl selection.
The Titans have said they want to negotiate a long-term deal with Haynesworth, but decided to buy some time in that regard by applying the franchise tag to him as he was headed to unrestricted free agency.
The franchise tender guarantees Haynesworth around $7.5 million, but he has no signing bonus.
WILLIAMS TO SHOW: Another player who has been put on the spot at the start of the off-season conditioning program is receiver Mike Williams, who has been instructed by Coach Jeff Fisher to be at a certain weight or risk being released.
Agent Sean Kiernan, who represents Williams, would not comment as to what the player’s weight was.
“As of my last conversation with Mike, he will be in Nashville on Monday participating in the off-season conditioning program,” Kiernan told The City Paper. I can't comment any further than that.”
Williams, a former first-round pick of the Detroit Lions, was signed by the Titans in November after being released by Oakland.
Speculation was that his weight was more than 260 pounds at the time of his signing. The Titans are believed to want Williams in the 235 to 240 range.