Washington Redskins' Albert Haynesworth says 'everything's been fine' with Coach Mike Shanahan

By Rick Maese and Dan Steinberg
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, September 25, 2010; 10:45 PM

In his most extensive comments of the season, Albert Haynesworth said "everything's been fine" between the controversial defensive lineman and Washington Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan, and Haynesworth expects to play in Sunday's game at the St. Louis Rams. But in a radio appearance Saturday afternoon, Haynesworth conceded that this season is off to an unusual start.

"It's been real crazy," Haynesworth said on 106.7 The Fan's "The Kevin and Rock Show." "I've never seen anything like this."

Prior to Saturday's radio appearance, Haynesworth had limited his media availability to postgame comments. But he answered questions for nearly 15 minutes and offered his most detailed explanation to date of the rift that grew between him and the organization.

While Haynesworth said he has come around on the team's new 3-4 defense and feels he has more opportunities to chase the quarterback than a year ago, he characterized his absence from the team's offseason workouts as a stand based on principals.

"I guess, in this world, we don't have a lot of people with backbones. Just because somebody pays you money don't mean they'll make you do whatever they want. I mean, that means everything is for sale. I mean, I'm not for sale," Haynesworth said. "Yeah, I signed the contract and got paid a lot of money, but just because, that don't mean I'm for sale or a slave or whatever.

"We agreed upon coming to that [contract] that I'd play defensive tackle and not nose guard and all that other stuff. I was signing with a 4-3 team," he continued. "It was a lot of promises and stuff like that. But now, it's been better, dealing with [defensive coordinator Jim] Haslett, and we run a lot of 4-3 stuff and you'll see that [Sunday]."

Haynesworth is listed as questionable on the team's injury report and Shanahan said on Friday that Haynesworth has no assurances of playing Sunday. Haynesworth was inactive in the team's Week 2 loss to Houston because of an ankle sprain. In the team's season opener against Dallas, Haynesworth came off the bench and played sparingly, mostly at nose tackle.

Any lingering frustrations were not apparent in the interview. Haynesworth said that he's open to attending the team's organized team activities (OTAs) next offseason but would prefer to work with his personal trainer rather that participate in the team's offseason conditioning program.

Haynesworth said that he "wasn't in the best shape" in 2009 after participating in Jim Zorn's conditioning program, and after spending this offseason with his trainer, he feels much better than he did last season.

"This year - well, I've only played 17 plays so far this season - but when you've seen me play, you'll see a difference than last year," he said.

Haynesworth came to the Redskins as a free agent in February 2009 and was the team's biggest free agent acquisition since owner Dan Snyder bought the team in 1999. He requested a trade in the offseason, but the team has not found a deal to its liking.

So Haynesworth has remained in Washington, apparently more content with his lot than he was during the preseason when he and Shanahan exchanged terse words through the media.

"A lot of it wasn't as bad as what they made it seem like in the papers. . . . we had good conversations," Haynesworth said. "Everything's been fine."

maeser@washpost.com steinbergd@washpost.com

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