Washington Redskins general manager Bruce Allen took a break from the banquet circuit Thursday to talk about the state of the organization following the first season under Mike Shanahan. As you might expect, Allen didn't offer a lot of specifics regarding the past or the future. But he did have something interesting to say about Albert Haynesworth.
Allen didn't close the door on the controversial defensive tackle returning to the field with the Skins in 2011. And apparently he kept a straight face while delivering this message.
"We were hopeful that he was going to help the team win and remain hopeful that he can help the team win,” Allen said during a session with Redskins beat writers Thursday. “Hopefully, if we can give it some time to breathe, maybe we can come back with a fresh outlook on it."
That seems to be a pretty optimistic statement about a player who was suspended for four games, in part, because he informed Allen that he would no longer speak to Shanahan. Apparently everyone just needs to let this thing breathe for a little bit and then this forced marriage can continue.
Anyone with common sense, though, recognizes that Allen's simply trying to pretend Haynesworth has some value to the Redskins in case a team wants to trade for him. Otherwise, I don't see any scenario where Haynesworth is on this roster in 2011. The power struggle between Haynesworth and Shanahan undermined what the coach was trying to accomplish in training camp, although he'd never admit to that.
When I asked Shanahan last August if the Haynesworth situation had become somewhat of a "circus," I was ushered out of his office about 30 seconds later. He hated the idea that one player could slow down the progress of an entire organization, but that's exactly what happened.
I believe that Shanahan erred in not suspending Haynesworth earlier in the season. It's not like there was much of a chance of the two finding common ground. Now, the Skins will try to sell us on this idea of reconciliation. But most of us know it's an act.
And not even a salesman like Allen could pull this off.