Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, GM Bruce Allen and head coach Mike Shannahan all refused to say whether they would seek to get a part of suspended defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth‘s bonus money back. But defensive coordinator Jim Haslett had much more to say and if half of it turns out to be true, it sounds like they might have a shot (from the Washington Post via benmaller.com):
“I don’t think I’ve ever had a player just tell me he didn’t want to play ‘Okie’ defense [the team’s base 3-4 alignment] and then later say he didn’t want to play nickel versus the run, ‘Just play me on third downs,’ ” Haslett said. “No, I’ve never had that before.
“And we tried to accommodate him. It’s a shame because he’s athletic enough. He can do almost anything he wants. Obviously, he didn’t want to do it. Good athletes can do a lot of different things. Basketball players – guards can play forwards, they can play different positions. I watch throughout the league; I see wide receivers do the ‘Wildcat.’ I think to myself, ‘If you’re a good enough athlete, you can do almost anything you want. You’ve just got to want to do it.'”
I’ve never been a big fan of taking a player’s signing bonus money back unless they clearly signed it wit the idea of breaking the terms going in. But to flat out refuse to do your job seems like a pretty good justification to me.
One thing is clear. The Redskins made a huge mistake in dealing with Hanesworth. They say that there’s always a team out there willing to take a chance but Hayensworth is going to have to practically play for free if any team is going to do it again. Even then I wonder if the damage done by having this kind of cancer on the team wouldn’t offset the advantage.