The Shanahan-Haynesworth feud officially has gone to the next level.
The Redskins have announced that Haynesworth has been suspended four games for conduct detrimental to the team. It’s the maximum penalty that a club can impose under the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
“Despite the club’s numerous attempts to persuade Albert Haynesworth to abide by the terms of his contract, he has repeatedly refused to cooperate with our coaching staff in a variety of ways over an extended period of time,” coach Mike Shanahan said in a team-issued release. “Among other things, he has consistently indicated to our defensive coaches that he refuses to play in our base defense or on first-down or second-down nickel situations. He has also refused to follow the instructions of our coaches both during weekly practices and during actual games as well.
“Yesterday, when Albert was at Redskin Park, he told our General Manager Bruce Allen that he [Haynesworth] would no longer speak with me,” Shanahan said. “Although suspending any player is not a decision that a head coach enters into lightly, I believe the situation has reached the point where the club clearly has no alternative.”
The alternative would be to cut him, but cutting him would let him land with a new team, with no compensation to the Redskins. Look for the ‘Skins to trade him for whatever they can get in the offseason.
As to the question of whether the suspension allows the Redskins to recover signing bonus money from Haynesworth, it doesn’t. Under the current labor deal, a player may be forced to pay back money only if he deliberately holds out or if he retires.
As to the suspension, Haynesworth will have a right to challenge it via arbitration. The outcome will hinge on the evidence that the Redskins can produce of past behavior and warnings issued because of it, like the Eagles were able to do five years ago with Terrell Owens.