Give bonus back is Redskin line on Haynesworth
Posted: Thursday, June 17, 2010 5:47 pm
By: By JOSEPH WHITE, AP Sports Writer
ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — The Washington Redskins are going to try to get their $21 million back from absentee defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth.
An official within the league with knowledge of the deliberations tells The Associated Press that the Redskins are going to examine Haynesworth’s contract to see if they can recoup some or all of the bonus they paid him on April 1.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because coach Mike Shanahan has declined to make the team’s plans public.
Haynesworth was a no-show for the Redskins mandatory minicamp Wednesday. He is unhappy with the team’s switch to a 3-4 defense. Teammates called his actions “selfish.”
ESPN.com first reported that the team will seek a return of the bonus.
The two-time All Pro defensive tackle is staying away because he doesn’t want to play in the Redskins’ new defensive scheme.
“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.”
Coach Mike Shanahan revealed that the Redskins told Haynesworth in February that they would agree to release him and let him go to another team — in exchange for not paying him a $21 million bonus due April 1.
“Obviously, he took the check,” Shanahan said, “so I was surprised he wasn’t here today. … Don’t take our check and then say that, hey, you don’t want to be part of our organization.”
The Redskins can fine Haynesworth up to $9,442 for missing the minicamp practice, hardly a dent in the money he’s received from the team for one season’s worth of work. He been paid $32 million of the $41 million guaranteed in the seven-year, $100 million contract he signed as a free agent last year.
Shanahan did not say what the Redskins will do next. They could release Haynesworth, try to trade him, try to find a way to get some of the bonus money back, or keep him on the roster and force another showdown when training camp opens July 29.
Having pocketed his money, Haynesworth simply wants out of Washington. Unhappy that the Redskins are switching to a 3-4 defense, he prefers a scheme that would allow him the type of freedom he had during his seven seasons with the Tennessee Titans.
“After many years in the NFL, I know what it takes for me to perform at my highest level,” he said in a statement released Tuesday night.
His teammates, including several respected veterans, were scathing in their comments Wednesday. If Haynesworth does show up for training camp, there will be some fences to mend.
Defensive end Phillip Daniels: “I think I speak for every guy on this team: We all feel like he turned his back on us.”
Center Casey Rabach: “It’s getting to be selfish. He’s hurting the team. It doesn’t sit well with the players. … You can’t really count on him right now.”
Cornerback DeAngelo Hall was one of the few willing to publicly empathize with Haynesworth, saying that “promises were made” about the way Haynesworth would be used when the contract was signed.
Still, even Hall conceded that Haynesworth is all about Haynesworth.
“We know Albert’s going to do what he wants to do,” Hall said, “whether it’s going to benefit him, benefit the team, or if it’s a stupid idea or a good idea, he’s going to do what he’s going to do. It’s kind of hard to change his mind.”