Redskins defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth had his best game of the year in Sunday’s win over the Bears. But one particular play could result in the highly paid Haynesworth getting a hefty fine from the league office.
The play in question came on DeAngelo Hall’s 92-yard interception return touchdown, when Haynesworth peeled back and drilled Bears offensive lineman J’Marcus Webb, hitting Webb with a shoulder to the chest and sending Webb flying to the ground.
Michael Lombardi of NFL.com wrote about the play and posted the video, and on Inside the NFL Lombardi referred to Webb as a “defenseless player” on the play and said that Haynesworth should expect a big fine.
“I think the league’s going to put him in the $50,000 club,” Lombardi said. “Albert Haynesworth belongs in there.”
Lombardi (who was making his comments while sitting next to Warren Sapp, who famously drilled Chad Clifton on an interception return in 2002) apparently believes Haynesworth violated rule 2, section 2, article 8(e), which outlaws “unnecessarily running, diving into, cutting, or throwing the body against or on a player who (i) is out of the play or (ii) should not have reasonably anticipated such contact by an oppponent, before or after the ball is dead.”
It basically comes down to whether you think Webb was out of the play or shouldn’t have reasonably anticipated that Haynesworth would hit him, and I disagree with Lombardi because I think Webb was still in the play and should have anticipated getting hit. Yes, it’s true that Webb wasn’t going to catch Hall from behind, but he was still running down the field in an attempt to catch Hall from behind, and in that situation, I think it’s reasonable for Haynesworth to block Webb.
In fact, Redskins coach Mike Shanahan (who was once Lombardi’s boss) specifically praised Haynesworth’s effort on that play.
“The first thing that I look for in anybody is somebody that plays 100 percent on every play,” Shanahan said.
We’ll find out soon if the league office agrees that Haynesworth was just going 100 percent until the whistle, or if Haynesworth has committed an infraction that will cost him $50,000.