An Open Letter to Albert Haynesworth
After missing every minicamp and offseason practice, Albert Haynesworth informed the Washington Redskins and the media that he was demanding a trade or release. Haynesworth made roughly $32 million from the Redskins in the first 13 months of his contract. Now that he has made clear his intentions, I offer him this letter.
Dear Albert Haynesworth,
Hey Al! I’m going to call you Al, I hope you don’t mind. Look, you’re an adult. You make your own decisions, you live by them, and you know how all of that works. I’m going to assume that by making this choice, you were already aware of how things would play out in the media and I accept that.
What I want to talk about is football. That’s it.
For a guy that’s so concerned about himself, you certainly chose the wrong position. Defensive tackle is one of the least glamorous positions in the NFL.
No one knows what you want to make of your career and your legacy. It could be championships, money, or just a long healthy career. But right now, it goes without saying; your legacy is likely permanently ruined. As a defensive tackle, you can only do so much. It’s not your role to rush the quarterback and accumulate sacks. The only headlines you can typically make are with your behavior and your mouth. Neither of those headlines is going to be a good thing.
I’ll tell you something you probably already know: You were the key cog to the Tennessee Titans brilliant 2008 season. You rewarded for that performance by the Washington Redskins. They and many other NFL teams saw what you did and wanted you to bring that same intensity to their team.
In 2009, you failed to do that. In 2010, you appear eager to prove that your success, not your failure, was a fluke.
You may be absolutely correct that you are not a good fit for a 3-4 defense under new head coach Mike Shanahan’s system. But, the reality is you’re being paid to do a job to the best of your abilities. You aren’t bigger than your team yet your trade demands illustrate that you feel you are. As a great player, your responsibility is larger than just your responsibility to yourself.
By demanding a trade, you effectively tell your teammates that you don’t have their back. There is a full roster of players who probably have an opinion on what they’d like to be doing on the team. And instead of using your status to be a leader, you have decided to use your status as leverage to do whatever you want. The NFL is a business, but that doesn’t excuse a jerk’s behavior.
C’mon Al! You are a great player on the field. But off of it, your arrogance is misguided. No one who knows the game questions your ability. Yet regardless, your selfishness continues to take the headlines.
If you care about your legacy, I strongly recommend you give coach Shanahan and his staff a fair chance. They want you to play; they want you to be a part of their success. Your performance is linked to their success.
Yet, you want to be somewhere else. It is only you who seems determined to undermine that.
The Washington Redskins may not be a great team but leaving them behind only hurts them even more. Walking away without regard for them is low. It is a decision riddled with apathy and one you’re going to have to live with.
You win together, you lose together. You play together, you sweat together. But you, Al? You will regret this choice alone.