From the time he became the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history, Albert Haynesworth has said it’s not about the money.
But you can bet it’s because the Washington Redskins want a nice chuck of their cash back from the petulant and disgruntled defensive tackle that Haynesworth announced Wednesday that he’ll report with his teammates for training camp July 29 at Ashburn, Va.
“Despite my current differences with the Redskins, I have always planned to attend training camp and honor my contract,” Haynesworth, who signed a seven-year, $100 million contract in 2009, said in a statement. “As I have previously said, I am continuing to prepare individually and will report on time, in shape and ready to play football. Any issues I have with the club I will discuss privately and therefore do not plan to make any further public comments on this matter.”
Haynesworth, the 2008 NFL Defensive Player of the Year with the Tennessee Titans, chose to boycott all offseason workouts after the Redskins, under new coach Mike Shanahan, switched from a 4-3 defensive front to a 3-4. Haynesworth, 29, claims the team promised to build its defense around him, and that a three-man front — which requires a nose tackle to occupy linemen so linebackers can make plays — is not the best way to suit his talents.
Last week, Haynesworth failed to show up for a mandatory mini-camp and was fined $100,000 by the team. Haynesworth, through his agent, demanded a trade.
Redskins players, both current and past, trashed Haynesworth in the D.C. press as being selfish and all about the money. The team reportedly was set to go after a portion of the more than $41 million he already has received as part of the contract.
Now, Haynesworth’s arrival next month should make for quite the circus for Shanahan’s first camp with the Redskins, and one of the best story lines to the start of the 2010 season.