Albert Haynesworth: Washington Redskins teammates call him selfish for skipping this week's mandatory minicamp
AP Photo/John Amis, File
Haynesworth wasn't present Wednesday morning when the team took the field for practice. The two-time All Pro defensive tackle is staying away because he doesn't want to play in the Redskins' new defensive scheme.
"Albert made a very selfish decision," veteran linebacker London Fletcher said. "When you decide to play a team sport, you have to look at it and think about everybody involved in the situation. This is not golf, tennis, things like that, where it's an all-about-you sport. What he's decided to do is make a decision based on all-about-him.
"It's no different than his attitude and approach to last year's defense, about wanting everything to revolve around him and him making plays. And if it didn't benefit him, he wasn't really willing to do it."
Coach Mike Shanahan revealed that the Redskins told Haynesworth in February that they would agree to release him and let him go to another team — in exchange for not paying him a $21 million bonus due April 1.
"Obviously, he took the check," Shanahan said, "so I was surprised he wasn't here today. ... Don't take our check and then say that, hey, you don't want to be part of our organization."
The Redskins can fine Haynesworth up to $9,442 for missing the minicamp practice, hardly a dent in the money he's received from the team for one season's worth of work. He been paid $32 million of the $41 million guaranteed in the seven-year, $100 million contract he signed as a free agent last year.
Shanahan did not say what the Redskins will do next. They could release Haynesworth, try to trade him, try to find a way to get some of the bonus money back, or keep him on the roster and force another showdown when training camp opens July 29.
"We'll make some decisions here shortly," the coach said.
Having pocketed his money, Haynesworth simply wants out of Washington. Unhappy that the Redskins are switching to a 3-4 defense, he prefers a scheme that would allow him the type of freedom he had during his seven seasons with the Tennessee Titans. He has not participated in any team's offseason conditioning program and skipped two voluntary minicamps.
"After many years in the NFL, I know what it takes for me to perform at my highest level," he said in a statement released Tuesday night.
His teammates, including several respected veterans, were scathing in their comments Wednesday. If Haynesworth does show up for training camp, there will be some fences to mend.
Defensive end Phillip Daniels: "I think I speak for every guy on this team: We all feel like he turned his back on us."
Center Casey Rabach: "It's getting to be selfish. He's hurting the team. It doesn't sit well with the players. ... You can't really count on him right now."
Fletcher: "There's ways he cannot be a Redskin: Give the money back. We'll move on without him. I want teammates who I can depend on, who I can count on, who in the fourth quarter I know is going to be there to make a play or do his job that the defense calls (for). We need people that we can depend on. And at the end of the day, right now, he's showing that he can't be depended upon. ... Last year we had a lot of selfishness that took place, and we got 4-12 out of that. This year, we can't have that."
Cornerback DeAngelo Hall was one of the few willing to publicly empathize with Haynesworth, saying that "promises were made" about the way Haynesworth would be used when the contract was signed.
Still, even Hall conceded that Haynesworth is all about Haynesworth.
"We know Albert's going to do what he wants to do," Hall said, "whether it's going to benefit him, benefit the team, or if it's a stupid idea or a good idea, he's going to do what he's going to do. It's kind of hard to change his mind."