The Washington Redskins have suspended defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth without pay for the rest of the 2010 season for conduct detrimental to the club, the team anounced Tuesday.
General Manager Bruce Allen notified Haynesworth of the decision Tuesday morning.
Haynesworth signed a seven-year, $100 million free agent contract with Washington after the 2008 season. He struggled last season and has not been much of a factor this year, Mike Shanahan's first as coach.
"Despite the club's numerous attempts to persuade Albert Haynesworth to abide by the terms of his contract, he has repeatedly refused to cooperate with our coaching staff in a variety of ways over an extended period of time," Shanahan said in a statement released by the team. "Among other things, he has consistently indicated to our defensive coaches that he refuses to play in our base defense or on first-down or second-down nickel situations. He has also refused to follow the instructions of our coaches both during weekly practices and during actual games as well.
"Yesterday, when Albert was at Redskin Park, he told our General Manager Bruce Allen that he [Haynesworth] would no longer speak with me. Although suspending any player is not a decision that a head coach enters into lightly, I believe the situation has reached the point where the club clearly has no alternative."
Haynesworth has settled into a role as a part-time player this season, happy not to be a regular part of the team's "Okie" run packages. He's not the starting nose tackle -- as was envisioned when the Redskins switched to the 3-4 scheme this season -- and instead is playing mostly in nickel packages as a "three-technique" tackle, the role he had during much of his seven seasons with the Tennessee Titans.
It was Haynesworth's aversion to the 3-4 that led to months of offseason drama. The Redskins offered to released him if he didn't take his $21 million contract bonus on April 1, but he accepted the money. He later asked to be traded, skipped offseason practices, needed 10 days to pass a training-camp conditioning test, traded verbal volleys with Shanahan and was well behind in learning the new scheme.
"We've got a guy in front of me who can play the 3-4 better than I can, so whatever helps the team," Haynesworth said. "I do get to play the nickel, and I play well in that, so that's when you see me in there."
Doesn't he want to be a starter?
"I would like to start and start playing like I used to ... but right now I'm fine with it," he said.
On Monday, teammate Phillip Daniels called him out, essentially for being selfish. He was publicly summoned to the coach's office. A television report suggested he appeared "hung over" at practice last week.
Then, late in the day, Haynesworth had his own say. Appearing on a radio station, he blamed the report on "haters" who don't like him, said he's too upset to meet Tuesday with coach Shanahan, and again proclaimed he could be the greatest ever if he could play the way he wants to play.
"I believe there's some kind of haters in the organization, that they don't like me," Haynesworth said on 106.7 The Fan. "I don't know if it's players, I don't know if it's coaches, I don't know who it is. Obviously, somebody who doesn't like me, which is fine. But when you go out there and start making up lies, then, yeah, I've got something to say."
In defending himself, Haynesworth seemed to confirm what Daniels was saying, speaking disproportionately about personal goals rather than team goals. He also referenced how he was used in Tennessee before signing with the Redskins last year. "Everybody's saying I'm not committed," he said. "I'm committed. I'm out here to play. I always play hard. I play hurt. I mean I'll blow out something before I quit playing. Haynesworth said that he was too upset to talk to Shananhan Tuesday and that he would postone their meeting. "I'm not going into the office tomorrow," he said Monday. "I'm still heated over this. I just got sick of it."
The Associated Press contributed to this report