The strained relationship between Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan and defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth escalated Sunday, one day after the player used his post-game interview to voice his displeasure with how he was used in Saturday's preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens.
Haynesworth lashed out at Shanahan after the Redskins' 23-3 preseason loss, ripping the Redskins coach for attributing the player's absence from practice last week to headaches without revealing more about the nature of the illness.
NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora reported Sunday that a league source said Haynesworth experienced the symptoms of rhabdomyolysis, a breakdown of muscle fibers resulting in the release of muscle fiber contents (myoglobin) into the bloodstream. Some of these are harmful to the kidney and can result in kidney damage. Symptoms included dizziness, nausea, vomiting and muscle swelling. Haynesworth was treated by team doctors, with rhabdomyolysis believed to be the likely cause.
Exertion and hot conditions exacerbate the problem, but in most mild cases, people recover in a week or two. It is treated with aggressive hydration to dilute the urine and flush the myoglobin from the kidneys.
Haynesworth's symptoms weren't at the extreme end of the spectrum, and he recovered enough to play against the Ravens. However, because he missed practice time, he was told he would only play in the second half of the game, with the reserves.
The Redskins had previously said Shanahan wouldn't discuss the matter until Monday. He wasn't made available to local reporters Sunday, but he talked about Haynesworth in an interview with AOL Fanhouse.
"Albert has gotten away in the past with playing without practicing," Shanahan said. "That will not happen under this regime. If he's going to play, he's going to practice, and that is the same with every player here. The days of him playing without practicing are over."
Asked about the reports that Haynesworth has rhabdomyolysis, Shanahan said: "Not aware of that."
Haynesworth stopped practicing early Tuesday at training camp and didn't practice Wednesday or Thursday. Shanahan gave varying explanations for Haynesworth's idleness each day. The coach initially said Haynesworth "just was sick," then said the cause was dehydration, then finally said it was "more of a headache than anything else."
After Saturday's game, Haynesworth said he had something more, but he didn't specify what.
"You'll have to ask them, but I guess they'll tell you 'headaches' again," said Haynesworth, emphasizing the word by holding his fingers in the air to simulate quotation marks. "It was part of it, but it wasn't all of it. They left out a whole lot of stuff."
Why would the Redskins do that?
"I don't know. I guess make yourself look good, I don't know. Make me look bad for not going to their offseason conditioning program," Haynesworth said. "But, I mean, next year, I'm not coming either. I'll be on my trainer again, and I'll get back in the same shape I'm in and feel good about myself."
It was Haynesworth's boycott of the Redskins' offseason program that drew Shanahan's ire all spring. Haynesworth stayed away in part because he wanted to work with his own trainer, but also because he wanted a trade so he wouldn't have to play nose tackle in a 3-4 defense.
Because he didn't participate in the offseason work, Haynesworth was required by Shanahan to pass a conditioning test in order to practice at training camp. Haynesworth failed on his first attempts and didn't pass the test until the 10th day of camp.
Once he started practicing, Haynesworth was made to work with the second-stringers. He played with the backups in the first preseason game a week ago and again Saturday night, entering in the second half after all the starters had departed.
"Third quarter. I'm a ninth-year pro," Haynesworth said. "I don't think I should have been out there in the third quarter. But, for having 'headaches' again, that was what they wanted to do."
Said Shanahan: "He wasn't going to play with the first or second team for obvious reasons. He's going to have to earn his way to play with that group."
Some of Haynesworth's teammates and coaches have privately questioned the severity of his ailments. Haynesworth's comments Saturday indicate that he believes Shanahan intentionally didn't reveal the full scope of Haynesworth's health issues.
Notes: Starting FS Kareem Moore is expected to be out several weeks with a right sprained knee. He was injured during the Ravens' fake punt play that netted a 51-yard gain. ... FB Mike Sellers injured his left knee during the game, although his injury isn't believed to be as serious. Nevertheless, the Redskins are expected to announce the signing of seventh-year FB Carey Davis on Monday. ... On a busy day - considering there was no practice -- the Redskins also fired one of their main public-relations men, executive director of communications Zack Bolno.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.