By MARK F. GRAY
Of all the embarrassing bad investments that Daniel Snyder has made in the burgundy and gold Albert Haynesworth now officially ranks as the worst. He was overpaid then underperformed and ultimately became a distraction that helped lead to the demise of what appeared to be a promising season. However, there is enough blame to go around after a no win resolution to this impasse.
This should seal Vinny “The Broadcaster” Cerrato’s fate as the second worst NFL executive over the last decade. Had it not been for Matt Millen, who fashioned the first winless season in Detroit, that dubious honor would have been Cerrato’s. The residue of his legacy of incompetence played out finally as the Washington Football Team were reduced to the point where they were “forced” into suspending the round mound of can’t play beyond first down for the rest of the year.
Haynesworth was consumed by the arrogance of his own ignorance by publicly drawing battle lines with the new regime when they first introduced the first concept of a 3-4 defensive scheme and then he wouldn’t participate in the offseason’s mandatory mini camp after pocketing the remainder of his signing bonus. Fat Albert is misguided and has convinced himself that he’s a $100 million victim and in this economy that doesn’t fly. How many of you would get away with telling your immediate supervisor you’re not talking to him anymore and that next year you weren’t going to participate in offseason team activities?
However, Mike Shanahan has to be held accountable for trying to prove that he was big boss man in charge by humiliating Haynesworth since he arrived at training camp. All the nonsense surrounding getting in shape and not starting him was childish and petulant. It was vindictive and shallow and set the tone for the way he would govern the team. In addition to outing Haynesworth publicly there was the Devin Thomas personality clash and the portrayal of Donovan McNabb as ignorant and out of shape. He didn’t want to believe Malcolm Kelly’s hamstring was pulled enough to land him on injured reserve and called Clinton Portis’ toughness into question and all he did was pulled his groin off the bone to finish his season.
The football culture is one where players and coaches often play through the prism of war. That would make Shanahan the general and Haynesworth and the rest of the team as his battalion. However, if you are one of his soldiers can you really lay it on the line in battle for a man when he may send you to the brig for merely landing in his doghouse? In one of the last bastions of real manhood – the NFL locker room – if you are a Washington Football Team player and see Shanahan’s behavior can you believe in a man who is as vindictive as a scorned woman?
Don’t ask don’t tell right!
At the end of the day, however, it all comes back to Snyder. He’s clearly trying to recoup some of the money he lost by making this bad investment. It is reminiscent of the final days of LaVar Arrington. It wasn’t Haynesworth’s fault that he took the overpayment they offered and its not totally his fault that it has ended as an organizational failure.