There will inevitably be a lot of Washington Redskins fans who will take Albert Haynesworth's side now that the latest batch of Haynesworth-Mike Shanahan feud reaction has come out (including us, as it were). But many of those takes kind of lose meaning when faced with the prospect of Haynesworth's teammates not supporting him anyone.
Because of that, Phillip Daniels' comments out at Redskins Park today are game-changing comments. Few players hold more clout than Daniels. When a 37-year old defensive lineman still playing a key role on the team despite a devastating torn ACL in 2008 speaks out against Haynesworth, it destroys a lot of whatever credibility Haynesworth may still have. While fighting back tears, Daniels spoke his mind about Haynesworth's situation and the general situation the Redskins have been in throughout his career here.
(Via John Keim of the Washington Examiner, who summed up everything so well here).
Daniels doesn't mention Haynesworth by name in his most striking remarks, but reading between the lines, it couldn't be any more clear that he's referring to the big guy.
"I've been through 15 seasons and I ain't won [anything]," he said, before pausing for eight seconds. "So what I'm saying is, if I can come out and do this, don't tell me you can't do it...." "I want every guy on this team to do well," he said. "If you ain't all in, you don't need to be here. I'm tired of going through season after season where we lose games we should win, guys not doing the right thing, guys not putting the effort in. I'm tired of that. The Redskins, we deserve better as a team and as fans. We got a coach in here [Mike Shanahan] now that's proven himself. He can win Super Bowls. Guys have to believe in what he's doing. If you don't believe in what he's doing, then you don't need to be here. And I'm speaking for everybody now."
And then, Daniels referred to Haynesworth directly. Daniels is a personal friend of Haynesworth's, but it's clear he's lost patience with his performance on the field and in the locker room. He said the whole situation "drags you down," and called out Haynesworth's practice habits, among other things.
"I'll tell you how I feel. I would love for things to work out with him. You know how much he can help us. If he put everything he had into football. I'm talking about the workout part of it, the weight room, the studying, he had into football. He would no doubt be the NFL player of the year."
Daniels also directly called out Haynesworth for letting his teammates down, agreeing with Shanahan's decision to bench him. He said that "that's the part of the game that's slipped by him" during his ongoing feud with management. Finally, Daniels had probably his most poignant quote when talking about the general culture change that hasn't happened in a year.
"Last year when I had this conversation I was saying guys need to practice and do what they need to do on the practice field. I haven't missed a practice this year and I'm 37 years old. So why these young guys getting nicks and bruises and they feel like they have to miss practice? You can't do that and win games. If I can do it at 37, then I know you can do it at 20-some. Everyone can do it."
I think this gives you a pretty accurate portrayal of why the Redskins may be considering releasing Haynesworth.