Haynesworth, the Redskins' $100 million defensive tackle who struggled to pass his conditioning test in training camp, is unlikely to start Washington's season opener against the Dallas Cowboys after a disappointing performance in the team's final preseason game, The Washington Post reported, citing unnamed sources.
Haynesworth participated in 49 of the Redskins' 55 defensive snaps on Thursday against the Cardinals but disappointed the Washington coaching staff with his apparent lack of effort, the newspaper reported. Two sources termed Haynesworth's performance in the game as "awful."
Redskins coach Mike Shanahan has lost his patience with Haynesworth, the sources told The Post, and the 6-foot-6, 350-pound defensive tackle took part in only a few snaps in Saturday's practice.
He was moved back to nose tackle in the practice and removed from the nickle package, one of the sources told the newspaper. Haynesworth had been starting at right end this preseason.
While Haynesworth's starting status is in doubt, Shanahan said he's confident that quarterback Donovan McNabb, who has a sprained left ankle, will be able to start Sunday night.
"Yeah, I feel very good about him being ready to go," Shanahan said on his coach's show on WRC-TV, according to The Post. "In fact, I think he'll be able to practice in the next couple of days. And I feel very good about the direction he's headed."
Haynesworth, meanwhile, appears to once again be headed in the wrong direction.
On Friday, when he was asked to explain why Haynesworth played in the team's preseason finale -- 31 of his teammates didn't even suit up -- Shanahan sang a familiar refrain.
"He's got to get in football shape," Shanahan said. "For the same reasons we've talked about. We got to get him some playing time so he can get back in football shape. I got to take a look at the film to tell you exactly how he played, but that's one of the reasons he's playing defensive end and nose tackle positions."
Haynesworth has been a thorn in Shanahan's side since the coach took the Redskins job in January. Haynesworth drew Shanahan's ire by staying away from the offseason program and later lobbied for a trade because he didn't want to play nose tackle in the team's new 3-4 defense. Shanahan gave Haynesworth a chance to leave -- provided Haynesworth didn't stay around to accept a $21 million contract bonus on April 1. Haynesworth took the bonus.
Haynesworth also skipped a mandatory minicamp and was fined. When he showed up for training camp, he was made to pass a conditioning test before he could practice. After several failed attempts and several days of idleness because of a sore knee, he finally passed the test on the 10th day of camp.
Haynesworth then missed another week of training camp due to illness. Shanahan gave varying explanations for Haynesworth's idleness each day. The coach initially said Haynesworth "just was sick," then said the cause was dehydration, then finally said it was "more of a headache than anything else."
The Washington Post, however, reported that Haynesworth has rhabdomyolysis, which is a condition that causes the rapid breakdown of skeletal muscle due to injury to muscle tissue. A Redskins official told ESPN the team was unaware that Haynesworth had this condition.
Despite all the drama, Haynesworth was still expected to play a key role in the Redskins' new 3-4 defense.
The Redskins declined comment when reached by The Post, but team spokesman Tony Wyllie said in an e-mail that Shanahan would answer questions on Monday.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.