- Albert Haynesworth said that he was shocked by Mike Shanahan's decision to deactivate him against the Giants. (Photo: Jay Westcott)
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Albert Haynesworth was confused as to why he didn’t play in the Redskins’ game against the New York Giant,s and believes that he could’ve helped his team had he been given the chance.
Dressed in a coffee-colored suit and standing in front of his locker, Haynesworth admitted that he had been sick on Friday, but didn't see how that was a reason for him to be deactivated against New York.
“I was ready to play,” Haynesworth said. “I don’t know you, have to ask the head coach. They didn’t really tell me anything. [Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett] just told me I wasn’t playing. That’s all we talked about in the hall.”
Mike Shanahan gave this explanation for why the Redskins didn’t dress their most talented defensive lineman: “He didn’t practice on Friday. He was sick. Thursday, he didn’t have one of his better practices. I’m not sure what the reason was, but I assume it was because he was sick since he didn’t practice Friday. With him not practicing Friday, and then not having one of his better practices on Thursday, we kept him inactive.”
Asked if Haynesworth would’ve helped the Redskins who had a poor defensive showing against the Giants, Shanahan replied, “You always want your best players playing at a very high level.”
Haynesworth came to New Meadowlands Stadium fully expecting to play against the Giants. Haslett was waiting for him outside the visiting locker room when he got to the stadium, however, and told him that he was being placed on the inactive list.
Haynesworth was asked if the move was upsetting, and he replied, “It’s whatever. They choose to sit me, they choose to sit me. It’s there organization. I’m just a piece. It would’ve been nice to play. I talked to one of my buddies on the team and he said, ‘Man I’m glad you didn’t play.’”
Haynesworth admitted that the move shocked him.
“Yeah, I am [shocked]," he said. "I thought it was a do-or-die situation and we needed to do whatever it takes to win.”
There were reports that Haynesworth was late for practice by a minute on Friday, but Shanahan even if that was the reason for the benching, “I wouldn’t review that with you guys.”
Said Haynesworth: “I was sick, so I did show up a minute late, but I don’t think that’s a reason to sit out.”
Haynesworth has played in only eight of the Redskins' 12 games this season. He was inactive for the game in Week 2 against Houston, and then missed the Week 5 Green Bay game following the death of his brother. He didn't practice enough to satisfy Shanahan the following week and was inactive against Indianapolis. Haynesworth had turned the corner, however, and had seen his activity increase over a three-game span, but then in the last two games, he was used for only a combined 34 snaps as the Redskins utilized more 3-4 fronts rather than the 4-3, or two-down lineman nickel package looks Haynesworth plays in.
Redskins players were asked if they thought Haynesworth would’ve helped them and some said he would have, others refused to speculate.
Fellow defensive lineman Phillip Daniels described Haynesworth’s inactivity as a complex subject that was understandable in some ways, and perplexing in others, and also one that carried a negative impact in his eyes.
“We count on everybody and our mental attitude is to go out there with everybody we’ve got and when you find out that you’re not going to go out there with one of our biggest guys, I think everybody starts talking about it, and it takes away from what we were trying to do,” Daniels said. “But I can’t call it. You’ve got to practice during the week to play well on Sundays. It’s our job, and when you don’t do the things you need to do, it just don’t work out. I know he missed some practices this week, but I can’t call it. All I know is, there was a lot of talk [in the locker room] about Albert before this game, and it could’ve been a distraction for a lot of guys.”