By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, August 22, 2010; 12:07 AM
Washington Redskins defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth said after Saturday night's 23-3 preseason loss to Baltimore that he believes team officials are still holding his absence during the off-season conditioning program against him and that they underplayed the severity of maladies that prevented him from practicing last week.
He also complained openly about playing in the second half of a preseason game, contending that role is beneath a player of his stature.
Haynesworth appeared in the third quarter against Baltimore and played with the second team, sacking third-string Baltimore quarterback Troy Smith in his most explosive play of this preseason. But he was clearly annoyed that Coach Mike Shanahan attributed his three missed practices during the week to headaches.
"I got told I had 'headaches,' or whatever, and that's why I couldn't go out and practice," Haynesworth said, gesturing to indicate quotation marks around the word 'headaches'. "I think it was a little bit more than that. I guess they didn't want to disclose it."
Haynesworth said headaches were only part of his symptoms, but with a media scrum around him he declined to go into details of why he dropped out early in Tuesday's workout and then missed practice Wednesday and Thursday. He said team officials "left out a whole lot of stuff" about his conditions. He was asked why they would do that.
"I guess to make themselves look good, make me look bad for not going to their offseason conditioning program," Haynesworth said. "But, I mean, next year I'm not coming either. I'm going to be with my trainer again and I'll get back in the same shape I am and feel good about myself."
A Redskins official cut off the group interview after 90 seconds. Later, as he walked to his car in the parking lot, Haynesworth expanded on his symptoms.
"They act like I had a headache," Haynesworth said. "It was a lot more than that. I got out of a hot tub. I was dizzy. I threw up."
Haynesworth's first appearance of the night came on the Ravens' first possession of the second half, when they went three-and-out. He also lined up at nose tackle for the second series and was in for the first six plays. He then went to the sideline for two plays before returning for four more.
Haynesworth came out, however, when the Ravens moved the ball to the Redskins' 4, and he wasn't on the field when Baltimore running back Jalen Parmele scored on a three-yard run. His sack of Smith for a seven-yard loss came on the next series.
Haynesworth, who has twice been a Pro Bowler, was miffed he is still playing with the second string late in preseason games, when most of the core players have long since retired for the night.
"It was all right," he said of his stint. "Third quarter, though? I'm a ninth-year pro. I don't think I should've been out there in the third quarter. But for having 'headaches' again, that's what they wanted to do."
Asked if he thought coaches were still punishing him for missing the offseason workouts, Haynesworth said: "Yeah, I think so. It's all right. I don't care. I'm a football player, I know I can still play the game. As long as I get this defense down, I'll be all right."
Haynesworth turbulent offseason has included dissatisfaction with his role in the Redskins' new 3-4 defense, a $21 million bonus check received in April, his absence from a well-attended off-season program and his initial failure to pass a conditioning test when he reported to training camp. After the first preseason game Aug. 13 against Buffalo, he said he had renewed hopes for the season. His experience last week, though, clearly changed things.
"I don't know what's going on," he said in the parking lot, "but I've never seen anything like this."
Staff writer Mike Wise contributed to this report.