Tuesday, December 7, 2010 9:50 AM
By Rich Tandler
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To twist an old saying, sometimes it is better to stay quiet and have people think that you're all about yourself and not about your team than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.
There is plenty of analysis and commentary floating around about Albert Haynesworth's appearance with Kevin and Rock and Redskins beat reporter Grant Paulsen on 106.7 The Fan on Monday night. I am going to pick out a few segments that struck me as I listened to it (many thanks to Grant for sending the transcript):
"Yeah, I went out Thursday but left early because I wasn't feeling good and went home . . . or these people to make up lies to try to make me look bad is ridiculous. I think they are cowards and if they have something to say, they should come to my face, not run to the media and try to blast me behind my back . . . There are some kind of haters or something like that in the organization, that they don't like me . . . But when you go out there and start making up lies, I've got something to say."
This is Haynesworth responding to the report by Kelli Johnson of Comcast SportsNet that a source in the Redskins organization said that it appeared that Haynesworth was "hung over" when he came to Redskins Park on Friday. Here, Haynesworth should be given some benefit of the doubt. That is a pretty serious charge and while Johnson certainly wouldn't make the report unless she trusted her source, we need to find out more about this before coming to a conclusion. While it's not very smart to be even a minute late for work if you were out in public consuming any adult beverages the night before, it's a leap from there to being too hung over to practice.
"They said I didn't practice well. OK, I didn't have a good practice. That's not the end of the world. I'm sorry I didn't have a good practice. You know what, when it comes to Sunday I'm out there on the field trying to make plays. That's what I'm trying to do . . . Alright if I didn't have a good practice, alright sue me.
It was an 8 o'clock meeting and I got in at 8:01 so I was literally a minute late and then I was called into Shanahan's office, talked to him for 10 minutes . . ."
These statements are parts of replies to different questions but they reflect the same clueless attitude. Haynesworth knows that he is under a microscope and he should act accordingly. If there is an 8:00 meeting, he needs to plan to be there at 7:30. Haynesworth should be especially careful not to be late when he was out in public consuming alcohol the night before, something he says did happen, although he said that he went home early. And, in the situation in which Haynesworth finds himself, he needs be sure to give his full effort at practice every day. It's something that you have to do about five or six hours a week. Get to work early, practice hard, earn your massive paycheck. That's how you stay out of trouble and get out of the doghouse, but apparently Albert doesn't get it.
"If I was late to a meeting, ok, my fault. I was late, fine me like you're supposed to and that's it."
Sorry, but you don't get to choose your punishment. When you pile being late on top of a poor practice and then you call in sick for that day's practice, the consequences escalate.
"All I want to do is play football, all I want to do is show you why you paid me so I can go out there and demonstrate everything that I know how to do and everything that I did in Tennessee. All you have to do is let the leash off and let me go. That's all you got to do and I can guarantee you'll be satisfied and happy. There'll be nobody in the NFL, no other defensive tackle that can outplay me if you let the leash off, I guarantee it."
Haynesworth went with this theme on a few different responses, but they all said the same thing "Albert thinks it should be all about Albert. You can argue all you want about the merits about the 3-4 defense but you can't argue that it is up to the coaches to decide what defense to run and it is the job of the players to play in that defense. Remember that a 4-3 defense doesn't necessarily make Haynesworth happy. Late last year, he was sent home from practice for complaining about Greg Blache's particular 4-3 concept saying later in the day that he could not "survive another season in this system if it stays the way it is". So, you see, the defense has to be just so for Haynesworth to be happy in it. Certainly, Haynesworth has no use for this "there is no 'I' in team" nonsense.
"What we run here is a 3-4 defense that's something different that I've never ran before. I'll practice it but I'm just not that good at it. It's completely changing the style of my game."
More of, as the old Beatles song goes, I, me, mine. Perhaps if he had spent his spring and early summer at Redskins Park learning the defense he might have had enough practice to be good at it. Or perhaps he should have taken Shanahan up on his offer to forego that 21 million bonus and go and make a deal with a team that played a defense to his specifications.
Life is all about the choices you make and Haynesworth chose the worst possible option. He took the money and then declined to do the work necessary to earn it.
You can reach Rich by email at RTandlerCSN@comcast.net and follow him on Twitter @RealRedskins.Join Rich Tandler for an in-game chat live from the press box at FedEx Field during the Redskins-Bucs game on Sunday. Things will get underway on www.CSNwashington.com shortly before kickoff at 12:45 Eastern and continue all game long.