A specific portion of the statement issued on Tuesday night by don’t-wanna-be-Redskins defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth caused some to wonder about the manner in which his recruitment unfolded.
“When I signed here after meeting all day with the staff and top
executives, and talked about the defense that we would run and what my
role would be, I was assured I would have the freedom to play to my
strengths and I was excited about the future,” Haynesworth said.
Given that widespread reports of Haynesworth’s agreement to join the Redskins circulated in the early post-dawn hours of February 27, 2009, the first day of the new league year, some wondered whether Haynesworth essentially was admitting that the Redskins had met with him before the free agency period opened. In contrast, we wondered whether Haynesworth had actually conducted the meetings after re-creating his moment of infamy, with a pen serving as the cleat and a contract serving as Andre Gurode’s forehead.
Agent Chad Speck has explained to us the manner in which the events transpired.
“Albert signed his contract after 5:00 pm on the first day of free agency,” Speck told us via e-mail. “He met with the staff for a long period of time after arriving at Redskins Park that morning. The press conference actually started late for this reason. Our approach was my job was to negotiate the money (which occurred all night long and into the morning and during the day in Ashburn) and he would decide if the football made sense after visiting with the staff and ownership (which occurred over the phone that night and then most of the day in Ashburn). After all of this is when the contract was signed.”
So there you have it — Haynesworth had the ability (without tampering) to meet with team officials before signing the contract. And in those meetings he was “assured” that he would “have the freedom to play to my strengths.”
Of course, Haynesworth and Speck wouldn’t be able to enforce any such promises because they weren’t reduced to writing. If, however, what they’re saying is true, Haynesworth wouldn’t be completely in the wrong for making it known that he has no desire to play nose tackle in a 3-4 defense.
That said, coach Mike Shanahan now claims that Haynesworth received an opportunity to leave the Redskins before accepting a $21 million bonus payment on April 1. We’ve got a feeling that we’ll be hearing more about this specific contention from Haynesworth’s camp eventually.