As most fans of the Washington Redskins already know, Albert Haynesworth is a sore subject at Redskins Park. The last few days the Haynesworth subject has been revisited since former tight end Chris Cooley called Albert “a piece of dump” on his daily radio show.
“Every year, every team, someone signs a big contract and then they turn into a piece of dump,” Cooley observed.
He was then asked which contract was worse, the massive one given to Gilbert Arenas, or the massive one handed to Albert Haynesworth.
“NO QUESTION, the Haynesworth contract,” Cooley answered. “Because he was TRYING to get released by the team. His goal was to come here, make a large signing bonus, and then get released and not have to do any of the work. He didn’t care about the back end of that contract, he didn’t care about making all of that money. His idea was, you paid me for what I did in the past, and my goal is to be released as soon as possible and basically take $33 million from you for absolutely nothing.”
“But was that his goal from the get-go?” Al Galdi asked.
“Yes,” Cooley insisted. “His goal from the get-go was to take that money. He also indicated to many players on the team that his new goal was to get released as soon as possible, sign another maybe $10, 12 million contract — that’s verbatim — go somewhere, play for a year and probably get released, and keep that money too. I mean, if it was a player on this team currently, I would not discuss this on the air. But being the player that he was, and the guy that he was around here, this was open [knowledge] among many players in this locker room: that his goal was basically to take money.
“And it’s really unfortunate when that happens. I guess his point to it, or his excuse for it, was well, the leagues steal from all you guys, the leagues won’t pay you YOUR salaries, they won’t give you YOUR money, so I’m gonna get what’s right from them.”
The Cooley comments lead to Haynesworth firing back on a Tennessee Vols radio show on Wednesday.
“He sounds as stupid as he looks,” Haynesworth told Tennessee Sports Radio, when asked about what Cooley said. “If the guy had any sense whatsoever: I care about the game of football. I’m not out promoting my socks, I’m not out hollering at cheerleaders and trying to marry them and get divorced in a couple years. That’s just not me. I’m out playing the game of football. You see what happened the years before at Tennessee and what I was about. You don’t get runner-up two years in a row of Defensive Player of the Year, or being in the top five of MVP of the NFL, by just trying to get released. That doesn’t make any sense. He sounds as stupid as he looks. Maybe he should worry about his own personal life and worry about what his wife is doing and all that stuff – or maybe now I should say what his ex-wife was doing.”
“I don’t want the Redskins fans to be mad, but that organization is completely different than the Titans,” he said. “Yeah, they have a long history of being in the NFL, supposedly being one of the top teams. I mean, they’ve got a lot of Hall of Famers from there that I’ve met and that I liked, and liked to learn from. But the current day, I’m not gonna say it’s Dan’s fault — Dan Snyder, I’m not gonna say it’s his fault — but it ain’t really about football, it’s about self-promotion.
“I mean, that’s what it was about,” Haynesworth said. “It was ridiculous. I’ve never seen that, and I wasn’t used to that. The whole recruiting thing from the beginning – when I signed that deal – which to me was the worst mistake in my life. You could say yeah I got paid a lot of money — I don’t really care about the money. If I knew it was gonna be like that, I never would have went. I never would have went. I guarantee.”
When asked about Shanahan, Haynesworth had this to offer:
“He hasn’t won a playoff game since Elway retired. Great coach. Yeah. I mean, that’s what he came in, the very first meeting, he came in saying I’m a great coach, I know how to win, I’ve won 25 championships. I’m like, 25 championships? Then I go back and look, and I was like you haven’t won a freaking playoff game since Elway retired. How come Elway comes back after Shanahan gets fired? Kind of weird. I mean, the guy is all me me me. Sorry to say that.”
And finally, Haynesworth also says he was lied to about the defensive scheme the Redskins were going to play with him at defensive tackle:
“The first day I get to Washington, that morning before, they’re like yeah, we’re gonna design our defense just like Tennessee, because we want you to let loose,” Haynesworth said, mentioning the proposed personnel moves. “So I was like ok, that’s great. And then the very first practice, we started doing all this different stuff that we hadn’t done. After that practice, I asked the D coordinator, hey, do you know are we gonna do some of [the Tennessee] stuff? And the guy was like no, we’re not doing none of that.”
Mike Shanahan fired back at his press conference on Thursday making it very clear that not only did he not like Haynesworth’s work ethic, but he also questioned his ‘lack of passion for the job’.
“Let’s put it this way. I think I’ve been a head coach and an assistant coach for about 40 years, and when you look back on those days and you take a look at the people that you get along with or people that – for one reason or another – that you may not get along with, Albert was one of the few guys that… Let me start this over again because I want to be pretty specific on this since you asked me that question… The only people I really haven’t gotten along with since I’ve been a coach – as head coach, an assistant coach – is someone that’s lazy and number two, when somebody is lazy and they may lack character, or they’re lazy and they lack passion for the game, those are the only people I haven’t gotten along with as a head coach or as an assistant coach. And so that’s what you’re looking for.
“When I take a look through my years at people that have been lazy or have lacked passion for their job, they don’t go into the next year. When they do, they don’t last the next year. So the people that I look at that come back and complain or do some of those things that you do when you don’t get along with somebody as a head coach or an assistant coach, it usually falls into one of those couple areas: lazy, lack of passion, and a lot of times, a lack of character. And he fits all three… You usually take the high road as much as you can. I usually do, but I thought that he’s been talking quite a bit over the last couple years, so I thought at least I’d be honest with you guys and kind of tell you how I feel.”