Skip to main content

News | Washington Commanders -

Shanahan Holds Off On Discussing Haynesworth


Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan said he would address questions about Albert Haynesworth on Wednesday, yet he fielded plenty during his Monday news conference.

Clarity? That must also wait until Wednesday.

Shanahan gave no credence to several media reports, one of which claimed the defensive lineman would be released by the Redskins before Sunday's game with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and another that refuted it.

"Before I address any questions about Albert, I'm going to sit down and talk to Albert, probably in the next couple of days," Shanahan said. "We'll answer questions about Albert on Wednesday because I think it's fair for me to talk to him before I talk to you."

Haynesworth was placed on the inactive list for the 31-7 loss to the New York Giants because he was ill at practice last Thursday, limiting his work, and didn't take part on Friday. Haynesworth also acknowledged being "a minute late" to Friday's workout.

The Redskins signed Haynesworth as a free agent in the spring of 2009. He was often a balky presence in the locker room, unhappy with the style of the Redskins' 4-3 defense. This season, his actions bordered on open rebellion, skipping all of the off-season voluntary work except for the first day, and also missing a mandatory minicamp. He said he didn't like the team's shift to a 3-4 defense or plans to play him at nose tackle.

His teammates ripped him for staying away from the minicamp, with linebacker and defensive captain London Fletcher terming him "selfish."

At training camp, the drama continued when he had to pass a conditioning test made up of a series of sprints. That took 10 days and drew ever-wider media focus to the apparent rift between Haynesworth and Shanahan.

Sunday's game was the fourth in which Haynesworth appeared on the inactive list. He sat out Week Two's loss to the Houston Texans with an ankle injury and missed two games following the death of his brother in a motorcycle accident.

The sour mood from Sunday's one-sided beating and a reprise of all the Haynesworth matters made for a less-than-cheery locker room on Monday morning. Each time Haynesworth seems to buy into the program, defensive end Phillip Daniels said, something changes and sets it all back.

"It is crazy. We want him to come in and help us win. The distractions are just not healthy. We would love for him to be here and do the things that he can do. We saw what he can do on the field when he wants to. He's had great games this year," Daniels said.

Daniels said he likes Haynesworth as a person but wishes Haynesworth put more focus on the team and his co-workers.

"I remember in college, when I first got to college, they had this shirt that said, 'Big Team, Little Me.' It's always going to be like that in football. You've got to think about the team first. You've got to think about your teammates first," Daniels said.

Others tried to steer clear of the issue that won't go away.

"I try to block stuff like that out," cornerback Phillip Buchanon said.

Fletcher said Haynesworth's deactivation was not a distraction on game day and "it wasn't something I heard guys discussing."

Maybe Wednesday is the day for that.

Larry Weisman, an award-winning journalist during 25 years with USA TODAY, writes for and appears nightly on Redskins Nation on Comcast SportsNet. Read his Redskinsblitz blog at and follow him on

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.