Albert Haynesworth made the decision not to show up to the Redskins mandatory minicamp last month, therefore he has to pass a conditioning test at training camp before he gets to practice with the team. These are the rules. Every player lives by them. Whether you make $40 million or the league minimum.
Thus, Mike Shanahan is left with two options:
1) Let Haynesworth practice with the rest of the team without passing the test.
2) Make Haynesworth take the test every day until he passes it.
As we all know, Shanahan has picked option 2:
“It may take a week,” Shanahan said. “We don’t know. …The only thing I can tell you is that when he does pass the test, I’ll feel very good that he can go out there and compete at that position.”
Mike Shanahan is going to make Haynesworth take that fucking test every day until he passes it. He has failed twice. He’ll try again Saturday morning. If he fails, he’ll try again the next practice. And again the one after that. And this is how it has to be.
Sure, Shanahan is doing more than simply following the rules — he is making an example out of Haynesworth. But it’s an example that must be made. Remember: Albert brought this on himself by not showing up for mini-camp. His trade demands, and gripes about the new system certainly didn’t help matters. So now, Shanahan has to show Albert, and the team, who is in charge. I realize that’s some cliched bullshit, but in this case, it’s true. This is Shanahan’s first camp with the Redskins, he has to establish authority and discipline. He has to draw the line. He cannot be a pushover simply because Haynesworth makes a lot of money and is a vital part of the team’s defense.
Naturally, Haynesworth doesn’t like this:
“I’m tired of this [expletive],” Haynesworth told NBC4 Thursday evening. “I just want to get out on field and play football.”
And we all want Haynesworth out on the field. Word is that he’s actually in good shape, thinner, and ready to play. There’s no doubt he’s the key piece to the new 3-4 defense. But if he wanted to be on the field so badly, he should have either considering that when he decided not to come to mini-camp, or practiced the conditioning test in advance in order to be prepared for it.
He left Mike Shanahan with no choice, really.
UPDATE: Great stuff from Mike Prada at SB Nation D.C. on the specifics of the test, as told to him by the Skins Strength and Conditioning Coach. Including:
“It’s actually not a test for everybody on the team. The guys that were under 50 percent [participation in OTAs] were notified that they got to get over 50 percent, or there’s a test. I think Andre Carter was close, Rocky McIntosh was close, so we let them know. [Now], they’re over 50 percent. But our team is so high – we’re 90.4-percent [participation] as a team – so nobody was in danger of having to do a test,” he said.
However, when asked whether this was then a “Haynesworth test,” Wright said “No, it’s not a Haynesworth test. It’s a test for anybody under 50 percent attendance or less. He was the only guy.”
Wright confirmed that the “test” is a set of two 300-yard shuttle runs in 25-yard increments (i.e. 25-yards up, 25-yards back six times). An offensive or defensive linemen needs to finish the first set in under 70 seconds, then gets a three and a half minute break before having to do it again in 73 seconds. On Thursday, Haynesworth passed the first segment, then took a 10-minute break instead of the three-minute break.