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Albert Haynesworth era ends for Washington Redskins, who suspend him without pay for rest of regular season

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The Washington Post's Rick Maese, Dan Steinberg, LaVar Arrington and Jonathan Forsythe debate whether or not to cut Albert Haynesworth.

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By Rick Maese and Sally Jenkins
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, December 8, 2010; 1:32 AM

Albert Haynesworth came to Washington with a promise.

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"You're not going to remember Albert Haynesworth as a bust," he said on Feb. 27, 2009, the day the Washington Redskins made him the highest-paid professional football player at that time. "You're going to remember me as a great player."

Haynesworth certainly will be remembered in Washington for years to come, but mostly for the turmoil that seemed to surround him at all times, and not for his performance on the field.

The Redskins suspended the disgruntled defensive lineman Tuesday without pay for the remainder of the regular season, citing conduct detrimental to the team. That move likely brings to a close the calamitous Haynesworth chapter in the Redskins annals.

Unable to coexist with Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan, Haynesworth was informed of the decision in a meeting Tuesday morning with General Manager Bruce Allen at Redskins Park.

"Let's be honest," Shanahan said in a telephone interview Tuesday evening. "This is an easy decision. This isn't even hard. When I get rid of a guy, I do it because it's in the best interest of the team, and I consider everybody."

The decision capped months of drama that has surrounded the team since shortly after Shanahan, who has two Super Bowl rings as a head coach and doesn't cede control often or suffer malcontents gladly, arrived in town in January. Haynesworth boycotted offseason workouts, skipped a mandatory minicamp, requested a trade, repeatedly failed the team's conditioning test and resisted coaches' efforts to change his position and role on the defensive line.

Haynesworth's suspension comes near the end of yet another lost season, one that began with considerable optimism prompted by an overhaul of the coaching staff and roster, but almost surely will end, yet again, with the Redskins sitting out the playoffs. Haynesworth now joins the list of expensive, marquee free agents who came to the Redskins with much fanfare - safety Adam Archuleta, cornerback Deion Sanders, linebacker Jeremiah Trotter and quarterback Jeff George among them - but depart with scant accomplishments, and sometimes much controversy.

That list all but defines the last decade for a franchise that has had seven head coaches since it won its most recent division title in 1999. Haynesworth fits among its most prominent characters.

"Everybody knows how strong-minded he is," linebacker Andre Carter said of Haynesworth. "Everybody knows the issues that were going on from last season to this season. For us, the rest of the players, we just got tired of it."

Shanahan asserted in a statement released through the club - and later in the telephone interview - that Haynesworth disregarded coaches during practice and refused to play in certain situations.

"And the reason he said he doesn't want to play in those situations is, he wants to play in passing situations, not running situations," Shanahan said by phone. "I've never had a player say anything like that to me before."


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