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Albert Haynesworth Can Still Be a Hero In D.C.

Albert Haynesworth's first season with the Redskins has been a bust on and off the field. However, it is not too late for Haynesworth to be a hero in D.C.

There is a great scene in "Spiderman" when Peter Parker's Uncle Ben tells him "with great powers comes great responsibilities." Well, apparently Albert Haynesworth did not have an Uncle Ben nor did he see "Spiderman," because he never embraced the increased expectations that come with a $100 million contract. Haynesworth appeared to be out of shape most of his first season in D.C. and was remembered more for laying on the ground and heading to the sidelines than making plays. However, that was nothing compared to the missteps "Fat" Albert has made this offseason bailing on his teammates during OTA's.

By now everyone is well aware that Haynesworth is bothered by the idea of playing nose tackle in a 3-4 defense. There were apparently some promises made by the previous regime that essentially Haynesworth could do whatever he wanted. Now, however, adults are actually in charge of the organization, both in the front office and on the coaching staff. Call it a philosophical change where coaches actually coach and players play or get out.

Crazy stuff, no doubt. Apparently, the back door to the owner's office has been closed and you do what Mike Shanahan does or else. Haynesworth did not get the memo but everyone else on the roster has, even Clinton Portis. None of Albert's teammates or peers in the NFL seem to be too sympathetic to his gripes. Funny how most sane people look at the $100 million and say put me anywhere you want and I will even cut the grass.

Perhaps it is the reaction from around the league or the fact that everyone seems to be suing him, but Haynesworth is suddenly sensing the urgency to the upcoming season. His trainer, Tripp Smith, claims he is motivated and in great shape.

"He told me, 'I want to go from April all the way through to July, nonstop, and be ready,'" Smith said. "He kind of set the tone for himself to begin with because I think he knew he had a lot of expectations, not only from teammates but from media and the [new] coaches. I don't think he wanted to disappoint anybody as far as his [physical] preparation is concerned."

So how did Albert do it? Was it Richard Simmons' Deal-a-Meal? You know the plan where you play cards and lose weight (i.e. you get a full house and lose 30 pounds). Or perhaps Haynesworth was Sweating to the Oldies? Or perhaps it was a Zumba Class? Could Fat Albert be working out with a bunch of stay-at-home moms in Tennessee?

No, actually Albert has been working out like a prize fighter.  Smith added boxing training for the first time. Two days a week for 45 minutes, Haynesworth hits a heavy bag or focus mitts.

"If he can have quicker and more powerful hands than the offensive lineman, then he's going to stand a much better chance of shedding blocks, throwing guys off and getting a quicker punch to them," Smith said. "We've been doing a lot of boxing, and I think he really likes it."

You have to wonder if the boxing workout has more to do with the fact that a lot of players would like to kick his ass for getting a contract like that and having the nerve to complain. Hopefully Haynesworth can keep it up no matter what the motivation may be. There is no question the Redskins will be a better football team with a motivated and productive Haynesworth. No one will argue his talent and his ability to disrupt opposing teams offenses. However, you can question his commitment to being a good teammate and doing what is best for the team.

"Albert made a very selfish decision," veteran linebacker London Fletcher said. "When you decide to play a team sport, you have to look at it and think about everybody involved in the situation. This is not golf, tennis, things like that, where it's an all-about-you sport. What he's decided to do is make a decision based on all-about-him.

"It's no different than his attitude and approach to last year's defense, about wanting everything to revolve around him and him making plays. And if it didn't benefit him, he wasn't really willing to do it."

The bottom line is if he comes to play and plays like the Pro Bowler Dan Snyder and Vinny Cerrato overpaid for, he will be forgiven by teammates and fans. Teammates will forgive Haynesworth if he comes in to camp in shape and does the right things. Fans will forgive if he is productive. I'm not his agent, but if I was I would also suggest showing some remorse for the way he handled the offseason.

People are working harder than ever to make a buck these days, which makes it hard to relate to a guy that makes $100 million and does not want to move down the line and take on a center instead of a guard or tackle. So he needs to get over himself and get on board. There is no better city to be a pro football player. The fans love their Redskins especially those that play hard and win. It is not too late for Haynesworth to be one of those guys even if he's not really a $100 million man.