One good thing about Wednesday is that–one way or another–The Albert Haynesworth story should reach its climax.
Either the big man will show up for the Washington Redskins’ manditory mini-camp starting in a few hours, or will not.
With the seasonal dearth of real football news, almost everyone is making too much of Haynesworth’s boycott of the voluntary OTAs and remote off-season training. There is no real news unless and until he’s AWOL today.
My money says Haynesworth shows up in reasonably good shape, reports to the contrary not-withstanding. Why? I’m giving Big Al the benefit of the doubt. A professional man will behave professionally when he’s been paid $30 million of his $40 million guaranteed contract. It’s not like he’s JaMarcus Russell.
If he does not show, then so much the better. No point in wasting time on a head case.
Haynesworth really is a premier player. But his signing and the nature of his exorbitant contract is a constant reminder of Danny Snyder’s flawed approach to building a team. So was Antwaan Randle El who likewise never lived up to his contract..
But ARE showed up. He tried what the coaches asked of him and played as the No. 2 wide-out when the Redskins converted from the run-heavy downfield offense to the semi-West Coast Offense. That offense didn’t suit ‘Twaan’s skills, but he was useful to the team, a force in the locker room. That helped Randle El land on his feet with Pittsburgh following his release by the Redskins last spring.
Surely someone is whispering that story in Haynesworth’s ear. The fastest path to another team is through Redskin Park.
Washington saw a similar preseason drama play out in 2006 in baseball when super star second baseman Alfonso Soriano joined the Nationals. Manager Frank Robinson moved Soriano to left field. The star politely refused. The manager not-so-politely insisted.
Soriano relented and found, as the season progressed, that he liked playing in the outfield. The move did nothing to hurt his market value as he feared. Soriano signed a $136 million contract with the Chicago Cubs in 2007 to play in the outfield. Breaking his comfort zone made Soriano more valuable and his wallet very fat.
Soriano and Randle El are examples for all of us. Breaking our comfort zone allows us to get better. Playing a different defense allows Haynesworth to get better. That’s what will draw interest from other teams, perhaps as soon as this season. If he does not show, it’s his loss. He will be stuck. We need to move on.