POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Dec 8, 2010
LAST UPDATED: 1:39 a.m. HST, Dec 8, 2010
WASHINGTON » Simmering all year, the antagonism between Albert Haynesworth and Mike Shanahan finally reached the boiling point yesterday when the two-time All-Pro defensive lineman was suspended by the Washington Redskins coach without pay for the rest of the season.
Citing a litany of acts that essentially add up to seasonlong insubordination, the Redskins suspended Haynesworth for "conduct detrimental to the club" and told him he's not welcome for the team's final four games -- and making it extremely unlikely he will play for the club again.
"Despite the club's 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," Shanahan said in statement released by the team. "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.
"Yesterday, when Albert was at Redskin Park, he told our general manager Bruce Allen that he (Haynesworth) would no longer speak with me. 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."
Allen informed Haynesworth of the suspension, the maximum permitted under the league's collective bargaining agreement. Haynesworth's agent, Chad Speck, said his client will appeal. Speck chided the Redskins for not giving any prior formal notice that Haynesworth's behavior was in question.
"The accusations made by coach Shanahan and Bruce Allen are vague and without merit," Speck said in a written statement. "Since training camp began, today's notice was the first that Albert received informing him that his conduct was not consistent with the 'terms of his contract' as coach Shanahan claims. 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."
Haynesworth and Shanahan have been going at it almost from the day Shanahan was hired in January.
Haynesworth skipped offseason workouts because he didn't want to play nose tackle in the 3-4 defense the new coaches were installing, preferring instead to play in a scheme that would showcase his talent and help achieve his goal of becoming "the best defensive tackle to ever play this game." Shanahan told Haynesworth to go find another team, contingent upon giving up a $21 million contract bonus due on April 1.
Haynesworth didn't want to give up that much money, so he stayed on the roster and remained disgruntled. He boycotted a mandatory minicamp, drawing a $10,000 fine and searing comments about being "selfish" from defensive captain London Fletcher. He became a league-wide punch line when he needed 10 days to pass a conditioning test at the start of training camp.
He complained about playing with the backups in preseason games. He received sympathetic words and support from Shanahan and the rest of the team when he missed a regular season game following the death of his half brother in a motorcycle accident, but he waited so long to return that the coach made him inactive for the following game as well.
Then, last week, Haynesworth had a lackluster practice on Thursday, was late for a meeting on Friday and was also limited at Friday's practice because of an unspecified illness. Haynesworth denied a television report that he appeared "hung over."
Shanahan made Haynesworth inactive for Sunday's game against the New York Giants.