Albert Haynesworth again fails to pass Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan's conditioning test

The Washington Redskins practice under Mike Shanahan, during day 2 of their summer training camp in Ashburn, Va.
By Rick Maese
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, July 31, 2010

If the question on the first day of Washington Redskins training camp centered on when Albert Haynesworth might pass Coach Mike Shanahan's conditioning test, that had changed by Friday morning. Suddenly, the question hanging over Redskins Park like a storm cloud is whether or not Haynesworth will ever pass it.

After failing on attempt No. 2, Haynesworth is scheduled to try the test again before the team hits the practice field Saturday morning.

"I tell you that test is not an easy test for a guy that's 330-some pounds," defensive end Phillip Daniels said. "At the same time, you've got to train for that test."

Daniels and several other teammates agreed that the test is difficult but fair, and requires specific cardio training.

Shanahan has prohibited Haynesworth from practicing with the rest of the team until he passes the running drill. Instead, Haynesworth has worked briefly with coaches following each of the team's three practices so far.

Haynesworth is required to complete two 300-yard shuttles -- which comprise six 25-yard out-and-back sprints. The first set must be done in 70 seconds or less and the second in 73 seconds or less. He is allowed a 3 1/2 -minute break between the runs.

On Thursday, Haynesworth passed the first but took a long restroom break before the second.

"You get 3 1/2 minutes; he was gone close to 10," said Ray Wright, the team's strength and conditioning coach. "So I gave Albert the option, 'Do you want to run this again?' My suggestion was, let's just wait until the morning. He wanted to run it again, so we ran it again."

Haynesworth had to start the test from scratch and was too tired to pass.

On Friday morning, Haynesworth finished the first run in 71 seconds. Because he failed, there was no need to attempt the second repetition. Haynesworth's teammates did not have to take the test because all had attended at least 50 percent of offseason workouts, according to Wright and Shanahan.

Shanahan said Friday he is confident Haynesworth will pass the test eventually and join his teammates. "Most people can do this test in their sleep," he said. "It's not as big as it may sound."

None of Haynesworth's teammates characterized the task facing Haynesworth in such casual terms. "If he wants to play, obviously he'll get it done," fullback Mike Sellers said. "It might take some time. It is a hard test. I will admit, it's a hard test to take, no matter what."

While Haynesworth looks noticeably slimmer than he did at last year's training camp -- team officials say he has dropped 35 pounds -- weight loss is not the same as conditioning.

"Everybody conditions different," said Sellers. "Maybe the conditioning he did when he was working out . . . was a little bit different, wasn't geared toward" the test.

Haynesworth attended only one day of the Redskins' offseason conditioning program, choosing to train on his own. He visited Redskins Park on Wednesday for the first time since March, and that's when coaches told him a conditioning drill awaited.

Haynesworth has met with Shanahan following each of the two failed tests and apparently isn't thrilled about the process. "I know it's the best thing for him," Shanahan said. "He may not know that at this time."

Each shuttle run is broken into 25-yard increments. Haynesworth must run 25 yards, touch his foot on a line and run 25 yards back until he has reached the 300-yard mark.

Redskins players say the test isn't unusual and most completed it as part of their offseason conditioning program -- though not against a clock. Daniels said his concern is that doing the rigorous runs on consecutive days could tire Haynesworth's legs. But Wright disputed that idea.

"There's a pace you have to have, a certain tempo each 25 yards, and I expect him to pass it pretty soon," Wright said.

While Haynesworth sat out both practices Friday, the Redskins welcomed rookie Trent Williams to the training camp field for the first time. Williams, who missed the first day of training camp, signed a contract Friday morning that will pay him $60 million over six years, including more than $36.5 million guaranteed.

"I know I'm here to do a certain job, and that's to protect the blind side," Williams said. "If I go out there thinking about the bucks and not doing my job, I won't be here long."

Because no other top-five draft picks had signed, Williams said he was willing to miss one day of training camp, but wanted to avoid an extended holdout. Teammates said Williams has shown great progress and will benefit from reporting to camp this early.

"For Trent to be in here with us for pretty much the full training camp and preseason, it's going to be huge and pay off big dividends this season," center Casey Rabach said.

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