(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
ASHBURN, Va. — Defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth was suspended without pay by the Washington Redskins on Tuesday for the last four games of the regular season, capping a saga that began last offseason.
The Redskins said the move was made because of “conduct detrimental to the club.”
The suspension comes after a long, difficult back-and-forth between Haynesworth, a two-time All-Pro with a $100 million contract, and first-year Washington coach Mike Shanahan, who won two Super Bowls with the Denver Broncos
Haynesworth skipped offseason workouts, boycotted a mandatory minicamp, needed 10 days to pass a conditioning test at training camp, did all he could to resist a change in the defensive scheme and then eventually became a part-time player.
His main gripe has been that he shouldn’t be playing nose tackle in a 3-4 defense.
The Redskins said general manager Bruce Allen told Haynesworth about the suspension Tuesday. Haynesworth was inactive for Washington’s 31-7 loss at the New York Giants on Sunday, which dropped the Redskins to 5-7.
In the team’s statement Tuesday, Shanahan said Haynesworth “repeatedly refused to cooperate with our coaching staff in a variety of ways over an extended period of time.”
Shanahan also said Haynesworth “consistently indicated” to defensive coaches that he wouldn’t play in certain defensive packages and refused to follow coaches’ instructions in practice and during games.
Furthermore, according to Shanahan: “When Albert was at Redskin Park [on Monday], he told our general manager Bruce Allen that he would no longer speak with me. Although suspending any player is not a decision that a head coach enters into lightly, I believe the situation has reached the point where the club clearly has no alternative.”
Haynesworth’s agent, Chad Speck, was reviewing the suspension with Haynesworth and planned to release a statement later Tuesday. An appeal is expected.
George Atallah, spokesman for the NFL players’ union, said on Twitter: “All I can say at this time is that the NFLPA is reviewing the details.”
Haynesworth said his coaches told him he was inactive against the Giants because he didn’t have a good practice on Thursday and was limited at Friday’s practice because of an illness, and was late for a meeting. But Comcast SportsNet reported that unnamed sources said Haynesworth appeared hung over on Friday after being out late Thursday.
In a radio interview Monday, Haynesworth blamed the report on “haters” who don’t like him, said he was too upset to meet with Shanahan Tuesday, and again proclaimed he could be the greatest ever if he could play the way he wants to play.
“Yeah, I went out on Thursday but left early because I wasn’t feeling good and went home,” Haynesworth said. “And then they want to sit here and say I was hung over and drunk and something like that? … For these people to make up lies to try to make me look bad, it’s ridiculous.”