Redskins bench Haynesworth for season

Redskins bench Haynesworth for season
December 7, 2010, 5:29 pm
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Tuesday, December 7, 2010, 12:28 p.m. UPDATED 5:43 p.m.

By Ryan OHalloran
Staff writer
CSNwashington.com

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The Redskins have suspended defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth for the seasons final four games without pay for conduct detrimental to the club.

General manager Bruce Allen informed Haynesworth of the teams decision Tuesday morning during a meeting at Redskin Park, which likely ends his Redskins career after two tumultuous years and 20 games.

The Redskins clearly have a dossier of disruptive behavior on file because the NFLPA is likely to get involved on Haynesworths behalf during a grievance process. The team will undoubtedly try to re-coup some of the 21 million he received during the off-season, but that is an extremely long shot.

Haynesworth could be losing 847,058 of his 3.5 million base salary due to the suspension. His agent, Chad Speck, said in a statement they will appeal the penalty.

We will begin the appeal process immediately and expect the facts to come to light during arbitration, Speck said.

Under the current terms of the leagues collective bargaining agreement, four games without pay is the maximum a player can be suspended for detrimental conduct, suggesting the Redskins were merely waiting until this week to make their move.

In a statement released by the team, coach Mike Shanahan outlined the reasoning behind Haynesworths ban.

Despite the clubs numerous attempts to persuade Albert Haynesworth to abide by the terms of his contract, he has repeatedly refused to cooperate with our coaching staff in a variety of ways over an extended period of time.

Among other things, he has consistently indicated to our defensive coaches that he refuses to play in our base defense or on first-down or second-down nickel situations. He has also refused to follow the instructions of our coaches both during weekly practices and during actual games as well.

Translation: The Redskins feel Haynesworth was an insubordinate player.

Albert and I have discussed the claims made in the Notice of Suspension and we disagree with the Redskins decision, Speck said. He was surprised by the suspension. The accusations made by Coach Shanahan and Bruce Allen are vague and without merit.

Specks statement said Haynesworth had not been notified since reporting for training camp he was acting unprofessionally until Tuesday.

Bruce confirmed to me today that there have been no other letters or formal notices of any kind sent to Albert during the regular season suggesting that he was engaging in conduct detrimental to the team, Speck said.

If things hadnt yet come to a head, they undoubtedly did Monday when the Redskins said Haynesworth told Allen he was done talking to Shanahan.

Although suspending any player is not a decision that a head coach enters into lightly, I believe the situation has reached the point where the club clearly has no alternative, Shanahans statement concluded.

Had the Redskins cut Haynesworth, they would have been on the hook for his last four game checks and he would have been eligible to be claimed off waivers or, if he became a free agent, able to sign with another team.

Haynesworth has already been paid more than 34.75 million by the team. Once he expressed his displeasure with the teams shift to a 3-4 defensive scheme, Haynesworth and his camp were allowed to find a new team. If they had found a taker, the Redskins would have released him. Instead, he accepted the 21 million check and promptly boycotted the teams lone mandatory mini-camp and requested a trade.

Haynesworth reported to training camp on time but missed the first week of workouts after failing to pass numerous conditioning tests. After the second preseason game, he complained about playing against back-ups but stayed quiet after he played all but a few snaps of the final tune-up game. Several weeks into the season, defensive coordinator Jim Haslett shelved the Haynesworth-at-nose-tackle experiment and limited him to third-down and pass-rushing situations.

He wasnt happy with the 3-4 defense and some would say, Get over it, but he decided he didnt want to play that role, defensive end Kedric Golston said. But thats what this team is doing and what were moving forward to do.

Once the season began, Haynesworth missed games with an ankle injury, to attend his half-brothers funeral and was a healthy scratch twice, including Sunday against the New York Giants.

The two-year totals for Haynesworth are 77 tackles and 6.5 sacks. This year, he averaged 25.5 snaps in his eight games and according to the coaching staffs tape review, was second on the team with 2.5 sacks and 20 quarterback hurries.

The suspension further cements the previous regimes decision to sign Haynesworth to such a front-loaded contract in March 2009 as an unmitigated disaster for Shanahan to clean up.

This isnt the first time Shanahan has publicly feuded with a player or tried to get money back from a player.

Nine years ago, the Broncos received back 400,000 of a 500,000 signing bonus paid to receiver Eddie Kennison after the team claimed he quit the team the night before a game.

In 2003, Shanahan twice suspended defensive tackle Daryl Gardener, also citing conduct detrimental to the team. Gardener was banned for criticizing the defensive coaches and scheme and ripping Shanahan on the radio, calling him that little man, and saying he was set up to overreact to an edited tape shown to players that depicted him failing to hustle on several plays.

The Broncos filed a grievance seeing return of 3 million of a signing bonus paid to Gardener and voiding a remaining 2 million bonus payment. The sides reached a settlement.

Four years ago, receiver Ashley Lelie, fed up playing second fiddle to Rod Smith, held out of training camp and was eventually traded to Atlanta in a three-team deal that landed T.J. Duckett with the Redskins.

In addition to 982,000 in fines for holding out, the Broncos wanted to without 220,000 in option bonus money. Lelie took the team to court and won in United States District Court.

Haynesworth remains under contract, allowing the Redskins to shop him in the off-season. Teams that play a 4-3 front about half of the league would be a fit. The Redskins were reportedly seeking a second round pick earlier this year.

Speck reiterated what Haynesworth said during his radio rant the big guy wants to play more but not in a 3-4 scheme.

Albert has repeatedly asked for a bigger role in the defense he simply wants to play and maximize his contribution to the team, Speck said. It is unfortunate that he has not been utilized more.

Contact Ryan at rohalloran@comcastsportsnet.com