Haynesworth says his illness wasn't hangover

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By Barry Svrluga and Jason Reid
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan said Monday that he will meet one-on-one with defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth before the team resumes practice Wednesday, but declined to address the future of Haynesworth - who on Monday night offered his own defense of his behavior.

Haynesworth disputed a report that he arrived at Friday's practice hung over after a night of partying Thursday.

"I was not hung over," Haynesworth said in a phone interview. "I mean, I did go out, but when I started feeling bad I went home. I mean, I go out every Thursday or so. . . .

"Just because somebody goes out, that doesn't mean I'm out drinking and getting drunk. I've been in this game for nine years and been single, or without a wife, for a lot of that time. The bottom line is I wasn't hung over or anything like that. I want to make that clear."

Haynesworth's dispute with a Comcast SportsNet report concluded another day of drama surrounding the player who, just 20 months ago, was signed to a contract that could pay him as much as $100 million. Shanahan's impending meeting with Haynesworth follows the coach's decision to bench him before Sunday's 31-7 loss to the New York Giants because, Shanahan said, Haynesworth had practiced poorly on Thursday and was ill on Friday.

"Before I go into any detail about Albert, I'll sit down and talk to Albert and address it with [the media] on Wednesday," Shanahan said.

Twelve games into a season that will almost certainly end with the Redskins out of the playoffs, Haynesworth's relationship with Shanahan has once again become the dominant theme of the coach's first year in Washington. The Redskins showed in Sunday's loss, the second divisional game in less than a month in which they weren't competitive, that they have countless problems to address headed into 2011. Yet all were overshadowed by the fact that Shanahan declared Haynesworth inactive prior to the kickoff against the Giants.

"I just wish that the team could stay focused and not worry about things like this," veteran defensive lineman Phillip Daniels said Monday. "When I come to the locker room on game day, I expect guys to be ready to go and play. I don't expect to get a surprise on game day that [someone's] not playing. . .

"We need to move forward, man, and the only way this team's going to move forward is get stuff like this out the way, and we all can focus and do the things we need to do on game day."

Haynesworth initially declined requests to talk about his status Monday, but took exception to the notion that his personal behavior affected his status for the game. A manager at the restaurant where Haynesworth acknowledged spending part of Thursday evening declined to comment Monday.

"Everybody wants to say whatever they want, just to try to speculate about why I didn't play," Haynesworth said in the phone interview. "Heck, I was sick before the game last week [against Minnesota]. Does that mean that I was hung over or something like that? I mean, I didn't even go anywhere. But I was hung over, right?

"Everybody's just speculating and trying to say negative stuff about me. But they really need to look at what's the most important thing. I'm here, supposedly, to help this organization win games. And right now, we're not doing that. We're not putting the best players on the field to win games."


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