Redskins Right on Albert Haynesworth, Wrong on Timing

ASHBURN, VA - AUGUST 06: Defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth  of the Washington Redskins walks off the field after missing his eighth consecutive day of practice during Redskins training camp on August 6, 2010 in Ashburn, Virginia. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

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The Washington Redskins suspended Albert Haynesworth, their recalcitrant defensive lineman, for the four remaining games of the season.

Haynesworth was inactive for Sunday’s game with the New York Giants after being late for a team practice or meeting. I’m not sure with so many versions of this story going around.

CSN Washington sports reporter Kelli Johnson tweeted that unnamed team sources (more on that later) said that Haynesworth appeared drunk when he arrived at Redskins Park Friday. Haynesworth forcefully denied that allegation in a Monday evening interview with the Kevin and Rock Show on 106.7 The Fan FM radio.

But Haynesworth went on to say that he could be the best defensive lineman “like they pay me to do” if Redskins coaches let him do what he does best, “cause havoc” on the other team.

Perhaps the Redskins would have taken an “employee action” by Wednesday anyway. Haynesworth’s self-justification on the Kevin and Rock Show solidified Mike Shanahan decision to (finally) act.

“Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” ~Sir Winston Churchill

Haynesworth’s departure brings to a close Washington’s latest ill-conceived roster move in a decade-long string of ill-conceived roster moves.  The Albert saga is over. It’s not done with.

For one thing, Haynesworth intends to appeal his suspension, according to his agent. We will hear a lot of background information as this dispute moves to arbitration.

The timing of the thing has the feel of pulling Donovan McNabb in the fourth quarter. That move unbalanced the team. The aftershock lasted until the Eagles game.

Dropping Albert is not the shock that benching McNabb proved to be. Is there anyone who didn’t see this coming? But the players will burn some brain matter processing all this while wondering what it all means to their career prospects. We would be better off with them wholly focused on the Buccaneers.

The Shanahans either should have benched McNabb earlier in the Lions game, or have played the string out.  If Washington was going to separate Haynesworth from the team, they should have done it by the trade deadline for whatever they could get. Tennessee reportedly offered a fourth-round draft pick for Haynesworth. Washington wanted multiple picks. That deal is looking very good now.

Otherwise, the Shanahans should have played the Haynesworth string out until the end of the season.  And they should have played Haynesworth in that time with the hope of getting the draft picks the team needs to rebuild.  (Yes, I used that word.)

Shanahan made a series of, um, incredible statements to justify the McNabb pull. I hope he learned from that.  The only appropriate thing to say is “coaching decision made in the best interest of the team.” Nothing more.

Anthony Brown

About Anthony Brown

Lifelong Redskins fan and blogger about football and life since 2004. Joined MVN's Hog Heaven blog in 2005 and then moved Redskins Hog Heaven to Bolguin Network. Believes that the course of a season is pre-ordained by management decisions made during the offseason. Can occasionally be found on the This Given Sunday blog and he does guest posts.

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