Albert Haynesworth, the Washington Redskins' $100 million man, accepted a $21 million payment from the team in April and has since skipped all of the team's spring conditioning programs and missed many training camp practices, leaving fans to wonder what condition his condition is in, especially since no one but Haynesworth seems to knows who diagnosed him or when or how serious his condition really is.
Haynesworth said the team trivialized his condition by saying he missed practices last week because of a headache. The defensive lineman suggested the organization might be trying to make him look bad for not showing up for the off-season conditioning program.
"Next year I'm not coming either," Haynesworth said.
Now, it's the sports talk of the town, including on 106.7 FM the Fan.
"You're not just disrespecting your head coach but you're disrespecting our city," one caller said.
Some fans feel head coach Mike Shanahan is being too strict.
"Haynesworth, he just needs to be on the field," a fan said. "He just needs to be playing, and that's problem I see, Shanahan just keeps picking at him."
Saturday night, after playing against the Baltimore Ravens with the third string, Haynesworth said the medical condition that caused him to miss practices is more serious than the team characterized it.
"Out of all the OTAs and the mini-camps and the practices here, I would say it's over 40 practices or 40-some practices and he's got six in, so he's got a way to go, so he needs to practice these next three weeks and practice at a high level and play well, and we'll see where he's at from that standpoint," defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said Monday.
Sports columnist and radio show host Mike Wise accompanied Haynesworth out to the parking lot after he spoke to the media Saturday night.
"I think he feels like not just a guy who hasn't shown up to training camp in condition but also as a leper in that locker room," Wise said.
Haynesworth said he has rhabdomyolysis, a condition in which skeletal muscle cells break down and which could cause kidney failure.
Sports medicine specialist Dr. Rajeev Pandarinath, of George Washington University, said in some cases, heat exhaustion and heat cramping affects those who are poorly conditioned, but it's unclear if Haynesworth's symptoms can be attributed to his failure to work out with the team.
Pandarinath said the team likely will monitor Haynesworth's hydration and how his muscles feel and let him play when any soreness goes away.
At Grevey's Sports restaurant in Falls Church, Va., Redskins fans have lost patience with Haynesworth since he accepted that $21 million payment in April.
"I think that money could have been spent better, maybe on other free agents, younger players, people that can help out in the long run if we've got an older veteran who clearly can't last the entire season," Zach Contrell said.
"If he plays, then maybe he's worth it," Stephanie Nicolaides said. "That I don't' know."
Given the current state of affairs, she'd cut him.
Like the players and coaches, fans want the Haynesworth distraction to end so the team can focus on winning.
Wise, for one, believes the Skins need Haynesworth to play to have a chance at winning eight games this season.
"I don't know if Albert Haynesworth's ever going to be a team player," Wise said. "I know that winning is a great deodorant for everything, and it covers up so much of the stench, and if Albert Haynesworth can pile drive Tony Romo into the turf, people will forget about this little charade that's been going on in the off-season."
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