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Could you run 600 Yards for $100 Million?    Share

 01 Aug 2010

As NFL training camps open in preparation for the start of the season in September, some of the biggest (literally) news has come out of Washington. One of the Redskins defensive players, Albert Haynesworth, tips the scales at around 350 pounds, depending on if you are weighing him pre- or post-meals. Haynesworth is a two-time All-Pro (meaning he was picked for the NFL’s Pro Bowl, essentially an NFL All-Star Game) and was signed to a huge $100 million contract by the Redskins.

The Redskins are pretty notorious for overpaying for football players who are in the downside of their careers, and Haynesworth seems to fit that bill perfectly. After a miserable 4 win, 12 loss season last year, the Redskins hired Mike Shanahan who has been a successful coach in the NFL. Before Shanahan was hired, the Redskins signed Haynesworth to a seven year, $100 million contract in February 2009. As part of the contract, he was paid $32 million in the first 13 months of the contract.

Haynesworth’s defensive numbers were down last year in comparison to some of his past seasons and he missed four games due to injuries. He was often seen taking a knee after plays in an effort to recover from the action. He has never been known to be the most dedicated player in terms of keeping himself in playing condition, and he did not help his cause any when he skipped the Redskins’ offseason condition program. He made it clear that he no longer wanted to be with the Redskins because the team was switching defensive schemes, but no other team offered to trade for the Pro-Bowler and his monster salary.

Enter Coach Shanahan. Concerned about “big Al’s” shape, Shanahan made him run two 300-yard shuttle runs in under 70 seconds each to be able to practice with the team since he missed the offseason workouts. All the lineman on the team had to take and pass this conditioning test during the offseason workouts, so Shanahan was simply holding big Al to the same standard. The test consists of running 300 yards in increments of 25 yards, then taking a 3 ½ minute break, then lastly repeating the drill. On Thursday of last week, big Al passed the first run, but said he had to take a bathroom break and was gone for 10 minutes. The coaches reset the test and he was unable to complete the last sprint. On Friday, he clocked in at 71 seconds for the first run, so there was no need to take the second. Apparently Shanahan is a stickler for the rules and the test appears to have emerged into a battle of wills between Shahanan and Haynesworth.

On Saturday big Al was scheduled to take the test again, but team doctors advised against it because of a swollen knee. Haynesworth appears to take the term “professional” out of professional athlete, and I think this story is far from being over. The bottom line, however, is that the Redskins have invested $32 million so far in a player who could care less about being on the team and meeting the coach’s minimum standards for being in shape for the season. The Redskins have an interesting dilemma—no team would offer much in trade for Haynesworth, and it would be difficult to justify cutting him since they have invested so much money in him while he only played 11 games for them last year. So it looks like they are stuck with a disinterested player who is turning their preseason camp into a media circus. I will keep you updated when round 3 of the big Al shuttle run challenge takes place.

One-Liner: “I bet Haynesworth passes his third test—this is probably embarrassing even for him…”

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End zone:  The two ends of a football field that are usually a different color than the rest of the field and displays the home team’s name and/or nickname.  The goal in football is to get the ball into the end zone.

Touchdown:  An act (rush or forward pass) whereby the ball crosses the goal line and gets into the end zone.

Extra Point: The act of kicking the football through the yellow uprights immediately after a touchdown.

Field Goal:  kicking the ball through the yellow uprights resulting in 3 points. 

Tackle:  Stop the player holding the ball from advancing toward the end zone

Interception:  A pass caught by the defenseSafety:  The act of tackling the opposing team inside their end zone.  This is the only means by which a team can score points without actually having the ball