Mike Shanahan has played chess with Albert Haynesworth. Shanahan was looking to make and example out of Haynesworth. If “you” aren’t going to answer to my beck and call then you will be demeaned and made to comply with the whims and caprices of the coach. Shanahan planned to break down Haynesworth and build him back up as he saw fit.
Shanahan has previously taken the hard line that Haynesworth had to pass the test otherwise he would not be allowed to practice the test. Haynesworth is the ONLY Redskin required to pass the conditioning test. Haynesworth has failed the conditioning test… again… and again. Haynesworth has an inflamed knee and he is not practicing with the Redskins. He is going through walk throughs, however. Check and mate. Haynesworth may not look like a chess champion, but he’s won this battle. Haynesworth has simply played by the rules constructed by Shanahan and has won.
Haynesworth may not win friends by acting lazy, but he is getting out of a week of training camp practices. Shanahan has relented regarding his hard line indicating:
Shanahan again said he is confident Haynesworth will eventually pass the test. The coach was asked how long the saga can drag on, and whether there might be a point in which he might put Haynesworth in pads anyway—even if the test isn’t passed.
“Possibly,” Shanahan said with shrug. “You’ll just have to stick around.”
So fast forward one week. Haynesworth sits out the worst part of camp, wins his contest of wills between him and the new head coach, and he’s avoided a week of risking injury by claiming to be injured. Shanahan gets his player back, but to draw the line in the sand and then erase it cannot be benefit his efforts to lead a new team. Certainly there have been protracted disagreements between players and coaches in the past. Stubbornness on both sides prevented any resolution. Maybe Shanahan knows which battles are worth fighting, but chalk up a victory for Haynesworth against the genius.