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Redskins Had to Cut Their Losses With Haynesworth

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You don't want to read it. I don't want to write it. You have a choice. I don't.

Yeah, more Albert Haynesworth. Never far from our thoughts, especially on the first day of the rest of his life, suspended without pay for the final four games of the season by the Redskins for conduct detrimental to the club.

"I think the relief of the whole deal is the fact that it could possibly be over," quarterback Donovan McNabb said Wednesday.

Let's not rehash the numerous stumbles, disputes, contentiousness and rancor of Haynesworth's short stay. Let's look at this another way to see why the Redskins suspended their best-paid player.

You run a company. You hire one of the most talented people in the industry to do a job. You pay him more than anyone else ever has to do this job and he promises he won't be "a bust."

Yet he's not in shape to do the job. He argues with his supervisors. He creates a distraction among the other employees. Occasionally he shows up and does great work. Sometimes he goes through the motions. You never know what you're going to get.

You change management. You put different people in charge. They assign the "star" a new role and he says no. He won't buy into the program, won't learn the new ways. He wants to pick and choose which assignments he likes. He creates a distraction among the other employees.

Don't you cut your losses at some point?

There's probably not a single person seated at his or her desk right now without a gripe about the boss, the style of management or the overall philosophy of the work place (except me – just covering my you-know-what here). We all know better, or think we do.

When we let those feelings affect our work, we create a ripple effect. My unreliability makes more work for you. Your lateness causes your cubicle mate to lie on your behalf at the morning meeting. That lie foments ill will among those who braved the traffic to be on time and prepared.

For the rest of the day, that's all everyone talks about. Which hardly lends itself to productivity.

Day after day, week after week, month after month (monotonous, isn't it?), Redskins players discussed Haynesworth. Why isn't he here for voluntary workouts? Why isn't he here for mandatory workouts? Why didn't he play? Why didn't he practice? Why was he late? What's his problem today?

There wasn't a word said about Haynesworth on Wednesday that hadn't been said before by his teammates.

Yes, he possessed the talent to succeed. No, he didn't have the right mindset. Yes, the Redskins could have been better with a full-speed, committed Haynesworth. No, the Redskins aren't facing the final four games with almost no hope of reaching the playoffs because of all things Haynesworth.

"I wouldn't say it's good that he's gone. It's more that the situation is over more so than Albert not being here. I mean, we want him to play. He's a beast," linebacker Lorenzo Alexander said to a gaggle of reporters in the locker room. "We're definitely not 5-7 because of the distraction. It's just something you have to deal with constantly. You get tired of answering questions about it. It's just drawn out and it takes away from what you guys should be covering, the wins and losses, what we're doing on the field.

"It was a lingering distraction. We had to talk about it constantly. I've been talking about it since March and now it's what, Week 13, and we're still talking about it. So it's been a long, drawn-out process."

Well, Week 14. It's later than you think.

Suspending a player for four games is an extraordinary step for a football team. It tacitly acknowledges it has failed to reach this employee and reap the productivity for which it paid handsomely. Head coach Mike Shanahan expressed no joy in making this move, which many thought was way overdue in some form of fashion.

It didn't so much send a message as reinforce one.

"Some people are scared, not in a negative way," cornerback Carlos Rogers said. "(Shanahan) says it all the time. The teams that he's been on, the Super Bowl teams and the experiences he had in this league in coaching, it's always everybody together on one page and if you're not, you're going to get out of here. And that's his evaluation, especially for these last four games, who's going to play, who's going to stick it out when we really don't got nothing to play for. He'll still evaluate to see who's with the team and who's not."

Call Albert Haynesworth whatever you like. An experiment that didn't work. An overpaid mistake. A misunderstood, miscast individual who needed more nurturing and fewer responsibilities. A slug.

Just don't call him the Employee of the Month.


Larry Weisman, an award-winning journalist during 25 years with USA TODAY, writes for Redskins.com and appears nightly on Redskins Nation on Comcast SportsNet. Read his Redskinsblitz blog at Redskinsrule.com and follow him on Twitter.com/LarryWeisman.

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