Albert Haynesworth’s self-centered actions may alienate many in the NFL, writes NFL.com columnist Steve Wyche.
Wyche points to the this year’s free agents who had no shot at the big money deal Big Al now flaunts.
“Because of the labor rules governing free agency this year, these players were tethered to their teams via restricted tenders that turned potential $20 million guarantees into a $3 million one-year salary — if they signed.”
Haynesworth unhappiness with his situation arise from his concerns about playing in a defensive scheme unsuited to him. Haynesworth says Washington’s higher management promised he would play in a certain defense when he signed. He feels betrayed. Wyche points to none other than Jason Campbell as the poster child of ill fitting schemes.
We all know the story. Big armed Campbell was drafted for Joe Gibbs’ power running, deep passing offense. When Gibbs walked from coaching after a draining 2007 season, the Snyder-Cerrato brain trust committed to hiring a coach for the offense best suited to Campbell. Then they fired Al Saunders, hired Jim Zorn, changed the offense to something they would not have drafted Campbell for then tried to dump Campbell himself in 2009.
Unlike Haynesworth, Campbell worked through it all. He found a home in Oakland where his strength of character is just what the Raiders need after the JaMarcus Russell experience.
Wyche thinks that Haynesworth may be writing himself out of a similar happy ending. But wait, there’s more.
Wyche says Haynesworth is harming the player’s side of labor negotiations with the owners who may be more interested in options to recover money payed to players who follow Haynesworth’s example. Haynesworth says he consulted with the NFL Players Association about his contractural standing before skipping the Redskins’ mandatory mini-camp.
Interesting premise, but don’t buy it.
The owners faced a similar case when Terrell Owens incensed NFL fans everywhere in 2005. The owners distracted themselves with an internal squabble over revenue sharing. They glossed over Owens’ antics when they extended the collective bargaining agreement with players that postponed hard negotiations on tough labor issues until now. (Indeed, Jerry Jones rewarded Owens with a nice contract in 2006)
Haynesworth has pulled this stunt before, with Tennessee in 2008. He’s still at it. Gene Upshaw and Paul Tagliabue are out of the negotiating picture. The owners are similarly distracted by revenue and profit, so I think they will talk tough but do little about Haynesworth and all the players who follow his example.