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'Skins hold Haynesworth out of practice after failed fitness test

  • By NFL.com Wire Reports
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Slimmed-down defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth was deemed unfit to practice with the Washington Redskins on Thursday, even though the players were wearing shorts, contact was sparse and the whole workout lasted just 70 minutes.

According to NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora, Haynesworth originally was told that he needed to do two sets of shuttle runs in the allotted time to be cleared for practice. However, that wasn't how the conditioning test went down at Redskins Park.

Haynesworth completed the first set in plenty of time, and then, as has been the case with the way the Redskins have conducted the test, he received a several-minute break. Haynesworth went inside to use the bathroom, according to the source, and when he returned to the field, he was told he took too long and therefore had to start over.

Haynesworth also finished the next set of shuttles (his second) in ample time, but he couldn't complete the third and final set, and thus was told he failed the test and couldn't practice, La Canfora reported.

"I just want to be done with all this, so I can get out there and play football," Haynesworth told NFL Network's Lindsay Soto.

Haynesworth's only appearance came after the practice was over, when he spent about 20 minutes walking through some plays with two assistant coaches. Looking perhaps 30 pounds leaner than he did a year ago, Haynesworth hovered around large upside-down trash bins -- representing offensive linemen -- as he learned the new defense's terminology.

According to La Canfora, Haynesworth told teammates that he couldn't have completed three shuttles in that time frame even during his All-Pro season, and several Redskins sources pointed out the irony that the defensive tackle is in markedly better shape than he was this time last year.

"The conditioning test, I don't even think a lot of us guys that were even here 100 percent could have passed that thing," Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall said. "But that's what conditioning tests are, that's what they're supposed to be, they're supposed to be some of them unattainable. Some we've had in the past were definitely unattainable."

When told he had failed the test, Haynesworth was "first-class all the way" in accepting the news, according to Redskins coach Mike Shanahan. The coach indicated no harsh words were exchanged.

Shanahan maintained that Haynesworth wasn't set up to fail. The coach said all the other Redskins linemen essentially passed the test by participating in offseason workouts.

"It's a very fair test," Shanahan said. "But more importantly, it keeps a guy from getting hurt. I don't want to put a guy out there that's not ready to go, and all of a sudden there's a setback for two weeks."

Shanahan's reasoning carried less weight on a day when practice wasn't particularly demanding and when wide receiver Malcolm Kelly was allowed to practice on a wet field despite nursing a sore hamstring.

Shanahan said Haynesworth will take the test once a day until he passes. If Haynesworth fails, he'll have to spend extra time on the treadmill -- as he did Thursday -- and will continue to be absent from practice.

Several players took this to be Shanahan sending a message to Haynesworth for skipping all the team's offseason work, and their relationship remains icy, La Canfora reported. Shanahan and Haynesworth have yet to see eye-to-eye on much since the coach came on board this year and began implementing a 3-4 base defense.

"The bottom line," Shanahan said, "is we're going to get him in shape."

Conditioning tests -- which typically involve two series of timed back-and-forth sprints -- are routine among NFL teams before the start of training camp, although failure to pass hasn't necessarily excluded a player from participation. The Redskins had three players fail the test in 2008, but all three participated as usual in training-camp practices.

This year, Haynesworth was the only Washington player required to take the test. Everyone else on the team attended a certain percentage of offseason workouts required by Shanahan.

Haynesworth spent the offseason pursuing his own workout regimen, and his representatives have maintained that he was in excellent shape. Shanahan said Haynesworth "looked like he was in good shape" during their meeting Wednesday, but the coach would only say "we'll see" when asked if he expects the unhappy player to be part of the team in 2010.

The Haynesworth saga has overshadowed a Redskins team that's trying to start a new chapter with Shanahan and new quarterback Donovan McNabb. Players have tried to ignore the distraction, but several of them called Haynesworth "selfish" when he skipped the mandatory minicamp last month.

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Haynesworth wants the freedom that helped make him a dominant player for many years with the Tennessee Titans and doesn't want to play nose tackle in a 3-4 defense. The Redskins have said he should give the defense a chance.

Haynesworth signed a seven-year, $100-million free-agent deal a year ago, but his first season with Washington led to questions about his focus and commitment.

Shanahan was ready to let Haynesworth go early this year and let him sign with another team, but the lineman didn't want to give up the $21 million bonus that he collected April 1 and is part of his contract. Shanahan said once the bonus was paid, Haynesworth had essentially committed himself to playing for the Redskins.

Notes: CB Carlos Rogers signed his $1.54 million restricted free-agent tender and participated in practice Thursday. He waited until the last possible moment because he was unhappy not to receive a long-term contract. ... OT Mike Williams, who's being treated for blood clots, was placed on the reserved non-football illness list. ... No. 4 overall draft pick Trent Williams is officially a holdout, missing the first day of camp while contract negotiations continue. "I'd be surprised if he's not in here quickly," Shanahan said of the offensive tackle.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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