The long, national nightmare is over. Albert Haynesworth passed his conditioning test on Saturday morning. He got through the 300-yard shuttle runs in a shorter time than expected and was allowed to join his team for practice on Saturday.
Phew. Now that we know that Haynesworth can actually run 300 yards -- not really a tremendous feat for a professional athlete with a gargantuan contract -- Redskins fans want to get back to football. Can Haynesworth actually make an impact under new coach Mike Shanahan?
Signs from his first full practice on Monday point to yes. For Shanahan, so far, so good.
"I think he looked pretty good," Shanahan said after the morning session. "I haven't had a chance to look at [tape of] practice on the defensive side, but what I saw looked pretty good."
There are still plenty of question marks surrounding Haynesworth. He was asked to take the conditioning test because he had missed the Redskins' off-season workouts. He may have finally passed it, but that doesn't mean he's in good enough shape to play a full game. Not only does he need to catch up with his teammates, but he has a persistently troublesome left knee. He isn't expected to play in Friday's pre-season opener with the Bills.
There is also a question as to how he will fit in with Shanahan and defensive coordinator Jim Haslett's 3-4 defense. Haynesworth does not want to play at nose tackle, but will be expected to play both nose and defensive end. Haslett has indicated that the defense is not going to change for Haynesworth.
But for now, Redskins fans can stop worrying about Haynesworth being their team's $100 million, out-of-shape joke. They can move onto actually worrying about how he plays football.
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