ASHBURN, Va. — Even by Albert Haynesworth standards, it was quite a day. A teammate called him out, essentially for being selfish. He got publicly summoned to the coach's office. A television report suggested he appeared "hung over" at practice last week.
Then, late in the day, the Washington Redskins defensive lineman had his own say. Appearing on a radio station, Haynesworth blamed the report on "haters" that don't like him, said he's too upset to meet with coach Mike Shanahan on Tuesday, and again proclaimed he could be the greatest ever if he could play the way he wants to play.
"I believe there's some kind of haters in the organization, that they don't like me," Haynesworth said on 106.7 The Fan. "I don't know if it's players, I don't know if it's coaches, I don't know who it is. Obviously somebody who doesn't like me, which is fine. But when you go out there and start making up lies, then, yeah, I've got something to say."
Haynesworth was inactive for Sunday's game against the New York Giants. He said coaches told him it was because he didn't have a good practice on Thursday and was limited at Friday's practice because of an illness, and was late for a meeting. Comcast SportsNet reported that unnamed sources said Haynesworth appeared hung over on Friday after being out late Thursday.
"Yeah, I went out on Thursday but left early because I wasn't feeling good and went home," Haynesworth said. "And then they want to sit here and say I was hung over and drunk and something like that? ... For these people to make up lies to try to make me look bad, it's ridiculous."
No matter how it's labeled, the Redskins have a Haynesworth headache that won't go away, even in December with Washington (5-7) essentially out of the playoff picture and morphing into wait'll-next-year mode.
The two-time All-Pro skipped offseason workouts, boycotted a mandatory minicamp, needed 10 days to pass a conditioning test at training camp, did all he could to resist a change in the defensive scheme and is now a part-time player with a $100 million contract because, by his own admission, he's not good enough to play nose tackle in a 3-4 defense.
It's all been too much for teammate Phillip Daniels, who become emotional when speaking about Haynesworth earlier in the day.
"I've been through 15 seasons and I ain't won (anything). So what I'm saying is if I can come out here and do this, don't tell me that you can't do it," Daniels said. "I want every guy on this team to do well. I want you to realize that if you ain't all in, you don't need to be here."
Daniels said the distractions involving Haynesworth are "not healthy" for the team and that it "drags you down." He called Haynesworth a "great person" who "tries for the most part to fit in," but Daniels also cited a slogan from college – "Big team, little me" – and said that's the part Haynesworth doesn't get.
"That's what I go out there and play for every day – my teammates," Daniels said. "And I think that's the part of the game that really skipped by him."
Daniels said he hasn't missed a practice this season at age 37, even though he's been sick recently. He says he supported Shanahan's decision because it put the team first.
"He's not going to let one guy, one person, come in here and destroy what we have," Daniels said. "You put the team first when you think about the future and things that we've got to do. If you don't practice, you don't play – and that's putting the team first."
In defending himself, Haynesworth seemed to actually confirm what Daniels was saying, speaking disproportionately about personal goals rather than team goals. He also referenced how he was used in Tennessee before signing with the Redskins last year.
"Everybody's saying I'm not committed. I'm committed. I'm out here to play. I always play hard. I play hurt. I mean I'll blow out something before I quit playing," Haynesworth said.
"They pay me this money: Let me play like I played in Tennessee. I will show you. I made a lot of plays in Tennessee; I can do the same thing here. All you've got to do is take off the dadgum leash and let me loose and you will see how great I am. ... I want to play football; that's what I want to do. Let me be great at it. Let me accomplish my goals. I want to be the best defense tackle to ever play this game."
Shanahan's decision to bench Haynesworth created a distraction in the locker room, the last thing needed before a road game against a division rival. Haynesworth probably wouldn't have made much difference in the 31-7 beatdown, but the episode further isolated him and raised questions as to whether he and Shanahan will ever be compatible.
Daniels said he own feelings are echoed by his teammates.
"Guys don't want to say it," Daniels said, "but guys feel the same way, man. ... If he put everything he had into football – I'm talking about the workout part of it, the weight room, just the learning the game, the studying of the game – he would be no doubt the NFL player of the year."
Haynesworth conceded he was "a minute late" for an 8 a.m. meeting Friday and perhaps didn't have the best of practices the day before.
"If I didn't have a good practice, sue me," he said. "Everybody doesn't go out and have a great practice every day. But that doesn't mean I can't play on Sunday."
Shanahan said he plans to meet with Haynesworth and won't discuss anything about the matter until the meeting has taken place. The coach declined to say whether Haynesworth will remain on the roster for the rest of the season.
"I think it's fair for me to talk to him before I talk to you," Shanahan told reporters.
Haynesworth said the meeting with have to wait until Wednesday.
"I'm not going into the office tomorrow," he said Monday. "I'm still heated over this. I just got sick of it."
Notes: S LaRon Landry had the boot removed from the left Achilles' tendon injury that has caused him to miss three games. "He's going to give it a shot this week," Shanahan said. ... RB Ryan Torain (hamstring) is also expected to return to practice Wednesday. ... LT Trent Williams had to leave Sunday's game with a shoulder injury resulting from a fall at his home last week. "I don't think it's a big setback," Shanahan said. ... CB Carlos Rogers said his right hamstring is healed, but the left one is still sore.