Washington Redskins disgruntled defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth issued a statement today, declaring his plans to attend the team’s training camp when it starts July 29. Haynesworth drew the ire of several members associated with the organization after he skipped the team’s mandatory minicamp last week and allegedly demanded a trade.

Haynesworth has been at an impasse with Washington since the team announced during the offseason that it plans to switch defensive fronts to a 3-4 style format next year after playing a 4-3 front last season. The Redskins fined Haynesworth $10,000 for missing the minicamp but the 28-year-old, who signed a seven-year, $100 contract last February, released a statement through the Washington Post claiming he will be present for training camp.

“Despite my current differences with the Redskins, I have always planned to attend training camp and honor my contract,” Haynesworth said in the statement. “As I have previously said, I am continuing to prepare for the season individually and will report on time, in shape and ready to play football. Any issues I have with the club I will discuss privately and therefore do not plan to make any further public comments about this matter.”

Haynesworth has already made $32 million of the $41 million that was guaranteed to him as part of his contract.

Washington paid him a $21 million bonus that was due to him on April 1 but after he failed to show up to the Redskins’ minicamp last Wednesday, reports surfaced that the team was in pursuit of the return of his bonus.

“Obviously, he took the check so I was surprised he wasn’t here today,” Washington head coach Mike Shanahan told reporters last week at the team’s minicamp. “Don’t take our check and then say that, hey, you don’t want to be part of our organization.”

“I’m disappointed he’s not here, absolutely,” Redskins owner Dan Snyder told reporters last week. “We’re expecting our players to lead by example, and we’re expecting our players to understand that they’re Redskins and they need to be there.”

After months of speculation about a possible trade or release, Haynesworth’s recent statement suggests he plans to be with the team when the season begins. Regardless of his attendance, he’ll potentially face a one-sided locker room after he rubbed several teammates the wrong way with his absence last week.

“Albert made a very selfish decision,” middle linebacker London Fletcher said.

“I think I speak for every guy on this team: We all feel like he turned his back on us,” defensive end Phillip Daniels said.


Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO