Haynesworth fails 2nd conditioning test
Albert Haynesworth is 0-for-2, having failed his conditioning test Friday morning for a second consecutive day.
Another failed effort. Once again, the two-time All-Pro defensive tackle was not allowed to participate in practice at Washington Redskins training camp.
And so the Haynesworth saga drags on.
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Early Friday morning, the cones were lined up 25 yards apart on the field for Haynesworth’s conditioning test. He needed to complete the first part in 70 seconds or less to have a chance to pass.
He clocked 71.
By now, some coaches or organizations would have worked out some sort of a behind-the-scenes compromise in the name of team harmony and good publicity, especially with one measly second hanging in the balance. Not Mike Shanahan. The rules are the rules are the rules for the Redskins new coach, no matter who the player is.
"Either you play by the rules, you’re gone or you’ll get fined, one of the two," fullback Mike Sellers said. "He’s a no-nonsense guy. A lot of the vets around here who are pretty much old-school guys appreciate it."
Perhaps Haynesworth didn’t see it coming, especially after spending last season under laid-back, player-friendly coach Jim Zorn. Or perhaps he thought by now he’d be playing for another team. Or perhaps he’d heard stories about the "star treatment" given to Redskins players such as Michael Westbrook, Bruce Smith and Clinton Portis over the years.
Either way, Haynesworth has learned the hard way that going toe-to-toe with Shanahan is not a good idea: Shanahan is going to win.
"He wants to come in and put a lot of discipline in this thing," defensive end Phillip Daniels said. "Discipline is the key."
Haynesworth failed Thursday in his first chance to prove to teammates that he was in practice shape after skipping offseason team workouts. The disgruntled star defensive tackle finished the first part of that test, but walked through the second portion. Sources said the team made Haynesworth run two 300-yard shuttle runs — the equivalent of 12 50-yard sprints.
First-year coach Mike Shanahan may hold him out for an undetermined length of time until Haynesworth improves.
”The bottom line,” Shanahan said Thursday, ”is we’re going to get him in shape.”
Haynesworth’s only appearance Thursday came after the practice was over, when he spent about 20 minutes walking through some plays with two assistant coaches. Looking perhaps 30 pounds leaner than he did a year ago, Haynesworth hovered around large upside-down trash bins — representing offensive linemen — as he learned the defense’s terminology. He didn’t speak to reporters.
Shanahan said Haynesworth will take the test once a day until he passes. If Haynesworth fails, he’ll have to spend extra time on the treadmill — as he did Thursday — and will continue to be absent from practice.
Conditioning tests, which typically involve two series of timed back-and-forth sprints, are routine before the start of training camp, although failure to pass hasn’t necessarily excluded a player from participation. The Redskins had three players fail the test in 2008, but all three took part in training camp practices.
On Wednesday, Haynesworth met with Shanahan, defensive coordinator Jim Haslett and other coaches. Haynesworth proclaimed that he’s been working out this offseason, insisting he’s in good enough shape to start camp when official workouts begin Wednesday.
Haynesworth was the only player required to take the test Thursday. Everyone else on the team attended a certain percentage of offseason workouts required by Shanahan.
”The conditioning test, I don’t even think a lot of us guys that were even here 100 percent could have passed that thing,” cornerback DeAngelo Hall. ”But that’s what conditioning tests are, that’s what they’re supposed to be, they’re supposed to be some of them unattainable. Some we’ve had in the past were definitely unattainable.”
But Shanahan maintained that Haynesworth was not set up to fail. He said all the other linemen essentially passed the test by taking part in the offseason workouts.
”It’s a very fair test,” Shanahan said. ”But more importantly, it keeps a guy from getting hurt. I don’t want to put a guy out there that’s not ready to go, and all of a sudden there’s a setback for two weeks.”
Shanahan’s reasoning carried less weight on a day when practice was not particularly demanding, and on a day when receiver Malcolm Kelly was allowed to practice on a wet field despite nursing a sore hamstring.
When told he had failed the test, Haynesworth was ”first-class all the way” in accepting the news, according to Shanahan. The coach indicated there were no harsh words exchanged.
Haynesworth’s return follows a messy offseason. Despite collecting a $21 million option on April 1, Haynesworth boycotted voluntary OTA workouts with the team in protest of being forced to switch roles in the Redskins’ new 3-4 defensive alignment — one that will force the ‘Skins DT to hold up multiple blockers instead of being freed to rush opposing quarterbacks.
The Redskins actually entertained several trade offers before the draft but found no takers due to attitude questions as well as Haynesworth’s massive contract.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.