Albert Haynesworth had some choice words for Redskins coach Mike Shanahan on Wednesday. Shanahan hit back Thursday, ripping into the former Redskin for being "lazy" among other things.
"Let me put it this way," Shanahan began, when asked about Haynesworth, according to the Washington Post, "the only people I really haven’t gotten along with since I’ve been a head coach and an assistant coach is someone that’s lazy, and No. 2, someone that’s lazy and they may lack character, or they’re lazy and lack passion for the game.
"And so the people that I’ve looked at that come back and complain and do some of the things that you do when you don’t get along with someone as a head coach or an assistant coach, usually falls in one of those couple areas: lazy, lack of passion, and lot of times, a lack of character, and he [Haynesworth] fits all three.
"You usually try to take the high road as much as you can. But I thought [Haynesworth's] been talking quite a bit. I thought I'd be honest."
Haynesworth signed a seven-year, $100 million contract with the Redskins in 2009, one season before Shanahan arrived to take over head coaching duties. Haynesworth then spent the 2010 season clashing with the new staff, eventually leading to a four-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team. He finished that season with 2.5 sacks, 16 tackles and no starts for the first time in his career.
The Redskins traded Haynesworth to the Patriots prior to the 2011 season, in exchange for a 2013 fifth-round pick (Washington selected LB Brandon Jenkins). Haynesworth lollygagged his way out of New England, too, prior to finishing that 2011 season -- and his career -- with the Buccaneers.
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The recent sniping between Haynesworth and Shanahan actually began when ex-Redskins tight end Chris Cooley hammered Haynesworth on ESPN 980.
"Every year, every team, someone signs a big contract and then they turn into a piece of dump," Cooley said, according to the Washington Post. "His goal was to come here, make a large signing bonus, and then get released and not have to do any of the work. He didn’t care about the back end of that contract, he didn’t care about making all of that money. His idea was, you paid me for what I did in the past, and my goal is to be released as soon as possible and basically take $33 million from you for absolutely nothing."
Haynesworth responded on Tennessee Sports Radio that Cooley "sounds as stupid as he looks," before continuing on to target Shanahan.
"I mean, it's like, you can't win with that team," Haynesworth said. "And you think it was just me? I mean, look how he did Donovan. See what's going on with RGIII [Robert Griffin III]. I met RGIII. He seemed like an extremely nice guy that's willing to work. Now he's gonna learn -- I mean, I hate to say he's gonna learn -- about [Mike Shanahan], how he's conniving and everything like that, where he's not gonna help him out, it's all about him."
Haynesworth's first year in Washington was played under Jim Zorn, who was fired following a 4-12 record in 2009. Haynesworth started and played in 12 games that season, chalking up four sacks and 37 tackles -- decent stats, but hardly what Washington had in mind when it handed Haynesworth that blockbuster deal in free agency.
Shanahan's first Washington team (and Haynesworth's last Washington team) finished just 6-10. After a 5-11 performance the next year, the Redskins made the dramatic move to trade up in the draft for Griffin, who helped lead them back to the playoffs.
However, Year 2 of the RGIII reign has been far more frustrating -- after Year 1 ended with Griffin blowing out his knee in a playoff loss. The Redskins currently sit at 2-5, with a key matchup against San Diego on Sunday. That game surely has most of Shanahan's attention ... but not all of it. He reserved at least a little room to snap back at Haynesworth.