Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Updated: June 16, 10:36 AM ET
Haynesworth won't attend minicamp
ESPN.com news services
Albert Haynesworth continues to be a 350-pound counterweight to the new era beginning in Washington, as he continues to miss the Redskins' offseason workouts and has now asked for a trade.
The defensive lineman with the $100 million contract does not plan to attend Wednesday's mandatory minicamp. Haynesworth released a statement through Comcast SportsNet late Tuesday saying that he will "continue to work individually to prepare for training camp and the start of the 2010 season."
"The Redskins are trying to establish a new regime with new schemes at Redskins Park, and it is not an organization that Albert would have ever been attracted to just a short year ago -- regardless of the money," Haynesworth's agent, Chad Speck, told The Washington Post. "He has made it clear to me that he does not want to play for the Washington Redskins.
"This situation will be a distraction to the Redskins and to Albert and his teammates. I am certain [head coach] Mike [Shanahan] and [general manager] Bruce [Allen] want to get the most out of their first year, and it's probably in everyone's best interests for the Redskins to make a deal and trade Albert."
Earlier Tuesday, the Redskins had said they were planning for Haynesworth to be at practice on Wednesday. "He'll be here, and we're expecting him to be in good shape," Allen said.
After the trade demand was made, Redskins senior vice president Tony Wyllie told the Post that Shanahan would "address your questions tomorrow."
The minicamp that starts Wednesday is the only offseason activity the Redskins can require Haynesworth to attend. He likely will be fined for not showing up.
Haynesworth's unhappiness over the switch to a new defense has cast a shadow over the new regime.
"When I signed here after meeting all day with the staff and top executives, and talked about the defense that we would run and what my role would be, I was assured I would have the freedom to play to my strengths and I was excited about the future," Haynesworth's statement said. "After many years in the NFL, I know what it takes for me to perform at my highest level. My number one goal has always been to help my team win -- period.
"It's also important at my position to help free my teammates to make plays, which I've done throughout my career when I've been allowed to play to my strengths."
Shanahan has tried to downplay Haynesworth's discontent -- the coach has said repeatedly that he'd rather talk about the players who are there rather than the players who aren't -- but there's been no avoiding it. Fans and Haynesworth's teammates have had Wednesday's date circled in their minds for weeks, and cornerback DeAngelo Hall echoed everyone's sentiments when he walked off the field after a practice last week and said, "I can't wait. I can't wait."
"Anybody who's been on this field knows we're building something special," said Hall, who has been exchanging text messages with Haynesworth. "You're either going to get on the bandwagon, or you won't be here. ... He'll see what's going on, and we'll tell him what we're trying to do. Hopefully that's enough."
A year ago, Haynesworth was the crown jewel of another free-agent splash by owner Dan Snyder, agreeing to a seven-year contract that included $41 million in guaranteed money. The two-time All-Pro defensive tackle was a letdown: He was frequently injured, finished with only four sacks and questioned the team's leadership as the Redskins spiraled in a 4-12 season.
New leadership has come, but it's apparently not to Haynesworth's taste.
Shanahan made it clear that he wasn't happy about Haynesworth's decision not to participate in the team's voluntary offseason-conditioning program. Haynesworth felt he needed to work with his own trainer to regain the strength that made him such a feared player during his seven years with the Tennessee Titans.
If that were all, it wouldn't be a huge deal -- it happens all the time around the league -- but Haynesworth also doesn't like the changes that have been made to the Redskins' game plan. New defensive coordinator Jim Haslett will play a 3-4 alignment, and Haynesworth doesn't relish the idea of being tied up at the line of scrimmage as a nose tackle.
Haynesworth skipped the first two minicamps -- both voluntary -- while hoping the Redskins would trade him. Shanahan firmly said a trade wasn't going to happen. It's a standoff that could have profound effects on team chemistry for a coach trying to forge a winning attitude.
"Hopefully, he'll fit in, and we can do some good things this year," defensive lineman Phillip Daniels said.
For Haynesworth, this is the downside to a huge payday -- the seven-year commitment that came with it. And even if he buys in to the new defense right away, Shanahan isn't cutting him any slack: The coach is expected to inform the players that the minicamp has been cut from three days to two as a reward for their hard work, giving the malcontent who's been away even less time to make up lost ground.
"He'll definitely have a lot of catching up to do," Shanahan said. "Hopefully he'll be in shape."
The Associated Press contributed to this story.