The past few days, the D.C. sports landscape has been dominated by the Washington Redskins. In early spring, the Redskins once again overshadow the transactions of both the slumping Wizards and the mercurial Capitals. It's nothing that we locals aren't used to seeing.
What is stunning, though, is how the notion of Albert Haynesworth sticking with this squad for one more year has overshadowed some fairly large developements. I'm sure most of you are aware, but to bring is all up to speed, we broke it down yesterday:
As the Washington Redskins enter an uncertain NFL free agency period due to the impending lockout, the major team issue remains the future of disgruntled defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth. The Redskins no longer owe him a huge roster bonus, so one might think they would consider outright releasing him. However, that does not appear to be the team's goal at this point.
ESPN's Adam Schefter, speaking on television earlier Tuesday, said the Redskins would rather hold on to Haynesworth and try to trade him, even if no good offers come
Keep in mind, the second leading rusher in Redskins history was released the day before. One the biggest figures in D.C. sports, Clinton Portis, is hitting the old dusty trail. After the Schefter report surfaced about Haynesworth, longtime Redskins Derrick Dockery and Andre Carter were released. Even with the Redskins beleaguered lines, two starters a year ago were deemed expendable.
All of that is obscured by the fact that, if we are to believe the report from Schefter, we are all going to be saddled with another year from this overweight, road raging (allegedly), drunken (allegedly), sexual deviant (allegedly), lazy (confirmed) bad driver.
Grant Paulsen came on our radio show on 106.7 The Fan yesterday and hypothesized that this could be a smoke screen by the Redskins. A futile attempt to try and deceive some poor team into thinking this lout still has value here in Washington D.C. If it is, this team is worse off than we all feared. Everyone knows the hand the Redskins are playing in regard to Albert Haynesworth. A few weeks back I wrote this about well paid lineman:
I want this monstrous, cash sucking, cardiovascular disaster off our team. Just like Phillip Daniels, I want to stop hearing his name. I don't want him representing my team, my city or any other aspect of my life.
I hate people that write self serving "I told you so" articles, but I TOLD YOU SO! Regardless of you think about Clinton Portis, he's accomplished 100 times more for the Redskins than Haynesworth. With Portis and potentially Santana Moss leaving D.C., we are effectively witnessing the end of an era for this team. None of that matters as long as this enormous stone is hanging around our collective necks.
There is no salvaging this situation. Everyone knows what we are dealing with. The only motivation here is revenge. As a man with many enemies, I can sympathize with the need for revenge against someone that has wronged you. The difference is, I am not charged with the task of rebuilding a once proud franchise. Mike Shanahan should not have the luxury of exacting his revenge against Albert Haynesworth. Thanks to Matt Terl over at the Redskins Blog, we now know that is what this is all about. Here is a statement from Shanahan to Haynesworth in regards to taking money the Redskins owed the player:
"'But if you take our check for 21 million dollars, I expect you to come back here and not only work, but play at a high level. You don't have to take it, 'cause you've already gotten a lot of money from this organization. But if you do take that check, I'm just not gonna cut you and let you go out and go to another football team and get another payday. If you take that check, you're gonna come back here and play and at least work hard to give yourself an opportunity to make this football team and help us win"
Look, I hate Albert Haynesworth. I hate the way he has conducted himself. He has embarrassed his team, his teammates, this city and all of us that care about the Redskins. That said, the Redskins gave him that deal and owed him that money. Shanahan tried to add stipulations to money that was already due to Haynesworth and now wants to get back and Albert for not living up to them. That's not the way the world works.
I won't like seeing Haynesworth waltz out if town with 40 million dollars in a sack that my favorite team paid him, but that's exactly what should happen for the good of the team. By keeping him here, Shanahan is disrespecting the rest of the men in that locker room that are going about their business the right way. Dockery is gone and we still have 92 to deal with. If I want revenge, I'll order a Steven Seagal movie from Netflix. I don't need it from a head coach.
Mike Shanahan needs to get over Albert Haynesworth, get over himself and then do what Dan Snyder paid him to do: make this team into a winner.