As Redskins players vent frustrations over Albert Haynesworth, team weighs its options

Neither rain, nor heat, nor humidity shall keep members of the Redskins offensive line from completing their sprints.
Neither rain, nor heat, nor humidity shall keep members of the Redskins offensive line from completing their sprints. (John Mcdonnell/the Washington Post)
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By Rick Maese
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, June 17, 2010

As the Washington Redskins began to weigh their options for responding to disgruntled defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, the lineman's teammates were mostly unified in their displeasure with his decision to skip the mandatory minicamp that began Wednesday.

Center Casey Rabach called Haynesworth "selfish," veteran linebacker London Fletcher said he "can't be depended upon," and defensive end Phillip Daniels said "he really turned his back on us."

With those sentiments swirling around Redskins Park, the team's brass discussed its next move, though there was no indication by day's end how they might proceed.

A league source said the Redskins were investigating the possibility of seizing some of the $26 million in bonus money Haynesworth already has been paid. Provisions in the collective bargaining agreement would appear to prohibit that, and a person familiar with the situation said Haynesworth consulted with the NFL Players Association before he skipped minicamp to ensure that his bonus money was secure.

But an ESPN report, citing an unnamed source who had reviewed Haynesworth's contract, said language in it might provide the team a way to recoup some of the money.

Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan made clear that he was disappointed by Haynesworth's absence Wednesday morning after the team's rain-shortened practice. He declined to comment on possible penalties, but it is believed that Haynesworth will be fined about $10,000 for skipping the two-day minicamp.

Shanahan also would not say whether the Redskins would engage in trade talks, which Haynesworth has requested through his agent, but said the team was willing to part ways with Haynesworth earlier this spring. He said he spoke with Haynesworth in February and gave the player permission to find another team. The Redskins were willing to release Haynesworth if he would forgo the $21 million bonus he was due, but, Shanahan said, Haynesworth was given only until April 1 to find another team.

"But on April 1, when we owed him a check for $21 million, we said, 'If you do take that check, we expect you to be the best defensive end, best nose tackle and if we played you at free safety, we'd expect you to be the best free safety' -- even though he'd have to lose a little weight," Shanahan said.

"Obviously, he took the check, so I was surprised that he wasn't here today," he said. Shanahan said he hasn't spoken with Haynesworth since the first day of the offseason conditioning program March 15, and learned of Haynesworth's intentions to skip minicamp from media reports Tuesday night.

Shanahan's feelings seemed to thread their way through the team Wednesday. Of the players interviewed following practice, none was as outspoken as Fletcher, the team's defensive captain.

"What he's decided to do is make a decision based all about him," Fletcher said. "It's no different than his attitude and his approach to last year's defense, about wanting everything to revolve around him and him making plays. And if it didn't benefit him, he wasn't really willing to do it.

"I want teammates who I can depend on," Fletcher added, "who I can count on."

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