I’ll admit to having mixed reactions to Thursday morning’s trade of Albert Haynesworth. I had been looking forward to Haynesworth once again participating in the shuttle run, which during last year’s training camp took on the importance and drama — if not the speed — of an Olympic 100-meter final.
Was it just a year ago we breathlessly awaited the daily report? Pass? Fail? Bathroom break?
It’s not like the Redskins to miss an opportunity for a revenue stream. Think of the fans who would have paid $10 apiece to come out to Redskins Park just to watch Haynesworth try to pass that test every morning. Then again, the club just cleared $5.4 million of cap room, which isn’t too shabby, either.
It seemed to be clear to everyone in Washington that Haynesworth had to go. It just took awhile for Redskins management to catch up to the notion. After a season in which he took more oxygen than snaps, he was suspended for conduct detrimental to the team. Really, he was suspended for being so . . . Albert that no one could stand to have him around any more. Po-ta-to, po-tah-to.
Then he came up huge in February — no, not in the Super or Pro bowls. There was a road rage incident in which he punched a guy (that one was settled out of court), and he was charged with misdemeanor sexual abuse for an incident with a waitress in a local hotel restaurant. In typical Albert fashion, he further endeared himself to local fans by saying the accusation couldn’t be true because he doesn’t like black girls.
I had hoped that Haynesworth would be forced to stay in Washington until the worst of the summer heat was over, like the rest of us who already have used our vacation time. That was not to be. But this may turn out to be so much better. Because Bill Belichick has him now.
May God have mercy on his soul.
Truthfully, Belichick may be just what Haynesworth needs. By the time the Patriots visit FedEx Field in December, we’ll know. Meantime, the fact that the Redskins got a fifth-round pick in 2013 for him is a gift. Even if Haynesworth has a Pro Bowl-caliber season with the Patriots — and he could — it’s still a gift.
He wasn’t going to have a Pro Bowl-caliber season here, partly because this team isn’t as good as the Patriots, but mostly because he wasn’t going to try to have a Pro Bowl-caliber season here. He was going to continue to pout and moan about a position change and just generally be the pain in the tuchis Washington has come to know and loathe.
Of course, that’s the risk you take when you trade away a player such as Haynesworth, a player who has some real talent buried in a sulky mountain of resentment and self-pity. There’s a chance the Pats (and Belichick) could get something more out of him than Washington (and Mike Shanahan) did. There’s also a chance that Haynesworth could try to stuff one of Belichick’s stylish cutoff sweatshirts down his throat.
And in the end, that’s why Haynesworth had to go. The Patriots don’t yet know which Albert will show up in Boston, but the Redskins knew which Albert would show up in Ashburn.
All the shuttle runs and suspensions in the world weren’t going to change him.