If you had any interest in not making this a distraction, wouldn't there be other approaches than public shame? I mean, you could construct Haynesworth's image out of neon toothpicks in the Redskins Park driveway without creating a bigger distraction than this conditioning test has been.
The Haynesworth saga has been the biggest news in the NFL over the past week. At the time of this post's writing (11:30 a.m. ET on Monday), the news that Haynesworth didn't take the test again on Monday morning is the No. 3 story in the headlines section of Yahoo! Sports, No. 2 on ESPN and is tops on NFL.com. It seems like "SportsCenter" provides more updates on Haynesworth doing shuttle runs than they do with all other NFL news combined. And, again, all this attention is for news that there's no news. Message or not, this can't be what Mike Shanahan had in mind.
There was always going to be a tipping point with these conditioning tests in which the pursuit of control turned into a disastrous farce. It probably came over the weekend. Shanahan wasn't wrong in trying to assert his and the coaching staff's power over Haynesworth, but now that the defensive end can't (or won't) pass the test, Shanahan has lost what he seeked the most: control.
This is all out of Shanahan's hands. He can't give in or make the test easier for his All-Pro or quiet the swarming media about the shuttle-run debacle. All the new Washington Redskins coach can do is wait for and rely on Albert Haynesworth to come through, pretty much the exact opposite of what this whole thing was supposed to accomplish.
- Mike Shanahan
- Albert Haynesworth