WASHINGTON — Simmering all year, the antagonism between Albert Haynesworth and Mike Shanahan finally reached the boiling point yesterday when the two-time All-Pro defensive lineman was suspended by the Redskins coach without pay for the rest of the season.
Citing a litany of acts that essentially add up to season-long insubordination, the Redskins suspended Haynesworth for “conduct detrimental to the club’’ and told him he’s not welcome for the team’s final four games — and making it extremely unlikely he will play for the club again.
“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 statement. “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.
“[Monday], when Albert was at Redskin Park, he told our general manager Bruce Allen that he 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.’’
Allen informed Haynesworth of the suspension, the maximum permitted under the league’s collective bargaining agreement. Haynesworth’s agent, Chad Speck, said his client will appeal. Speck chided the Redskins for not giving any prior formal notice that Haynesworth’s behavior was in question.
“The accusations made by coach Shanahan and Bruce Allen are vague and without merit,’’ Speck said in statement.
George Atallah of the NFL players’ union said: “All I can say at this time is that the NFLPA is reviewing the details.’’
It wasn’t hard to see this coming. Haynesworth and Shanahan have been going at it almost from the day the hard-nosed coach who won two Super Bowls with the Broncos was hired by the Redskins in January.
Haynesworth skipped offseason workouts because he didn’t want to play nose tackle in the 3-4 defense. Shanahan told Haynesworth to go find another team, contingent upon giving up a $21 million contract bonus due April 1.
Haynesworth didn’t want to give up that much money, so he stayed on the roster and remained disgruntled. He boycotted a mandatory minicamp, drawing a $10,000 fine. He became a league-wide punch line when he needed 10 days to pass a conditioning test at the start of training camp.