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Shuttle test that Albert Haynesworth failed is 'tough' but 'standard,' former NFL players say

By Mark Maske
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, July 31, 2010; D06

Former players said Friday that the sprinting test Washington Redskins defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth must pass before he can take the field in practice is a standard, if stringent, measure of conditioning that is used across the NFL.

Former Redskins offensive lineman Ross Tucker called the 300-yard shuttle test "the toughest" of those used regularly by coaches to determine whether players are in shape.

Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan is requiring Haynesworth -- who did not take part in the team's offseason conditioning program -- to pass the test before allowing him to participate in practice. The test, according to the Redskins, consists of a pair of 300-yard shuttle runs -- 25-yard sprints, out and back, six times. A lineman such as Haynesworth must complete the first in 70 seconds and then, after a 3 1/2 -minute break, complete the second in 73 seconds.

Any player who failed to participate in at least half the offseason conditioning program must pass the test to practice.

"That's pretty standard, actually. [Coach Bill] Parcells used to do something like that," Tucker said. "And when I was in Washington one year, they had us run that. We had to do that at least one day a week. I think Dallas, with Parcells, had to run the width of the field, 53 yards, and I want to say they had to do it in a minute. This one doesn't sound unreasonable to me.

"But it's tougher than the 50-yard [shuttles] because of the number of turns," said Tucker, who spent time with the Redskins, Cowboys, Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots.

Haynesworth failed the tests on Thursday and Friday.

Brian Mitchell, the former running back and kick returner for the Redskins, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants, said he also had taken the 300-yard shuttle test when he was with the Eagles.

"We also had to run 100-yard sprints 16 times. I don't know what Shanahan normally does, but I have seen people use this one," Mitchell said. "You have 70 seconds for 300 yards? When I was in Philly, I think the big guys, the linemen, had to run 100 yards in 17 or 18 seconds, maybe 20 seconds at the most. I don't see it as being that difficult. That's what I've been saying all along: Yeah, Albert Haynesworth lost weight, but is he in shape?"

One former NFL executive said the Redskins have "made it impossible" for Haynesworth to pass the test, but speculated that Shanahan may be trying to do Haynesworth a favor.

"All of his teammates are mad at the guy," said the executive, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he did not want to be seen as prying into the Redskins' business. "But now they look at this and think it's unfair, and there's some sympathy for him in the locker room."

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