Thursday, January 13, 2011, 2:36 p.m. UPDATED 4:20 p.m.
By Ryan OHalloran
REDSKINS PAGE REDSKINS VIDEO
Although it could simply be posturing as they continue to explore ways to get something in return for Albert Haynesworth, Redskins general manager Bruce Allen said Thursday the team has not eliminated the possibility of the disgruntled defensive lineman returning next year.
Even though Haynesworth told Allen last month he was done speaking to coach Mike Shanahan, triggering a four-game suspension. Even though Haynesworth remains against playing any nose tackle in the teams 3-4 defense. And even though he appeared in only eight games (only 204 of 1,088 snaps) and made just 23 tackles.
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 30-minute interview with beat writers at Redskin Park. Hopefully, if we can give it some time to breathe, maybe we can come back with a fresh outlook on it.
Allen called Haynesworth a talented player, no one will deny that, but how can he possibly remain on the team if he is limited to passing downs?
Because hes extremely talented, said Allen, who added, lets take a look at it at a later time.
Despite the arrival of Shanahan and quarterback Donovan McNabb, Topic A during the Redskins 6-10 season was Haynesworth, from his mini-camp boycott and infamous conditioning test to not hustling on an extended play against Philadelphia and his eventual ban for detrimental conduct.
Part of everybody getting together and learning a new system and learning new people is that there are going to be some rough times for everyone, some uneasiness for different players, Allen said.
Upon Haynesworth reporting back to the Redskins Jan. 3 for an exit physical, he did not meet with Shanahan or defensive coordinator Jim Haslett but did speak to Allen.
I dont want to get into my conversations with players but he stated some of his opinions and I stated some of mine, Allen said.
Reading between the lines of Allens comments, it appears the Redskins remain loathe to cutting Haynesworth (thus giving him what he wants) and would be open to trading him before this springs draft. Problem is, Haynesworth is a 4-3 player, which cut the number of potential landing spots in half.
While no decision on Haynesworth remains in the near future, the same appears true for quarterback Donovan McNabb, who isnt expected to return after he was benched for the final three games.
Allen has spoken with Fletcher Smith, the agent for McNabb who released a powerful statement on Dec. 24 calling out Mike and Kyle Shanahan for their handling of McNabb before his demotion.
The Redskins shipped two draft picks including a second-rounder last year for McNabb, who 5-8 as the starter with a career-high 15 interceptions and career-low 77.1 passer rating.
Asked if the McNabb trade is viewed as a failure, Allen said: When we made the decision to trade for Donovan, I think based on what we knew and what we were looking at, it was the right decision.
Whether he was disappointed about the way McNabbs benching was handled, three days before the Dallas game instead of earlier in that week, Allen wouldnt touch analyzing Shanahans decision, saying: I dont get personally involved. Were all 6-10.
If the Redskins are unable to trade McNabb and what value does he have at this point? they can wait until the eve of the regular season opener to cut him and be off the hook for any money.
Looking ahead to next year, Allen said the Redskins have operated the last two weeks as if a new collective bargaining agreement will be struck by March 3 and free agency with nearly 400 players hitting the market starting the next day.
We know we have less than 50 days until the end of this league year and the process right now were going through is no different than what we had done in the past were evaluating ourselves as well as evaluating all of the players in the league, Allen said. Thats where all of our focus is, trying to get that done.
I know there is some great urgency with the commissioner Roger Goodell and Ive heard his words. The sooner, the better for the fans and for everybody.
Allen tip-toed around most topics, even refusing to identify which specific young players impressed him this year.
The Redskins improved from four to six wins this year and Allen said progress was made.
No ones goal was to just win six games, he said. Yes, we wanted to do better than the year before and we took a step. Did we reach the levels we hoped for? No, I wouldnt say that.
Allen added: We worked on the infrastructure of what this Redskins team can be and I cant tell you how happy I am with the attitude of the football team. We have a very mature leadership group on this team that I think got a team to fight for 60 minutes. We have to get better in different areas and thats what well work on.
Allen wasnt yet willing to label impending free agents Santana Moss and Carlos Rogers as priorities to re-sign.
Thats part of what were doing now, Allen said. Were going to start ranking our players and see where they fit in.
Asked to compare Shanahans way of doing business to other coaches hes worked with, Allen said: Each coach Ive been with is different in their ways and it comes from their experience. He had a good vision for not only 2010 but beyond. He never lost sight of that. It wasnt just about this moment. What was right for this football team down the road was always in the frontal lobe of his brain.
Allen said the Redskins have been meeting with a lot of people, about the construction of an indoor practice facility and have some interesting options.
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