Looking for a photo to put at the top of this article, I absent-mindedly went to the 2010 Photos folder on the network here. This was a pointless endeavor; the only things in that folder (aside from press conferences and individual photo shoots) are mini-camps, OTAs, and the Pro Bowl. Albert Haynesworth was involved in none of those things.
And that is, apparently, unlikely to change today.
I’m an incurable optimist — something that’s true of almost all sports fans, I guess — so even when the news broke last night that Haynesworth wouldn’t be showing up today, even when CSNWashington.com published a statement from Haynesworth on the subject, I had this faint idea that he’d still show up anyhow. And be in great shape. And have a terrific attitude.
That optimism — like so much other sports fan optimism — appears to have been completely unfounded. Larry Weisman of Redskins.com tweeted this morning, “Disgruntled Redskins DL Albert Haynesworth a no-show for 6:30 a.m. physical. So it begins.” Which prompted me to go look back at when it actually began.
I remember being exhausted during Haynesworth’s introductory press conference, having been up late the night before monitoring free agency, but I also remember that my main impression with Haynesworth was — you guessed it! — optimism. I wrote at the time that he “impressed in his press conference today, coming across as confident, humble, and charming.” Which I think we can all agree are TOTALLY the three words most commonly used to describe him now.
Anyhow, given today’s news, I thought it might be interesting to offer without further commentary a little of what Haynesworth actually had to say in his press conference that day. You can find the rest of the transcript here if you’re curious.
On where he’ll find motivation after receiving that much money:
“You’re not going to remember Albert Haynesworth as a bust or the guy who had the Dallas incident or anything. You will remember him as a great player and that’s what I live for.
“You know, the money’s awesome. It’s great. But I’m out here, when I line up in front of somebody, when I put the helmet on, it’s to kick butt and it’s to make sure that guy knows that I’m the best player to play against. After the game or something you can think about the money, but during that game … I’m gonna make sure he knows that I’m the best player. Any team that faces me, they’re gonna have to worry about me.
On how much responsibility is on him:
“Well, I mean with the contract it’s gonna be all on me. My job is, if you don’t see me being really as productive, I’m gonna probably be drawing double-teams and triple-teams and it’s gonna be freeing up our other guys to make plays. So to kind of judge how I’m doing, you can just see how we’re doing as a team and how we’re performing as far as a defense.
“So as long as the defense is performing well … I mean, it’s kind of hard to go up from number four in the league, but it’s a little bit easier to go up in the sack [totals], because other guys can get sacks too.”
On that impressively large sum of money, again:
“What they wanted me to come here to do is to play football and be disruptive and do what I do, so that’s what I’m coming here to do. When you’re on the field, you’re not thinking about dollar signs or anything like that. You’re just going out there to play.”
On if he feels any pressure from the money, redux:
“Well, yeah, it’s a lot of money, but honestly I put more pressure on myself than what the contract would do. Because I have such high standards for myself that, you know, he could’ve given me half a billion dollars and it still wouldn’t've been the pressure that I put on myself. ‘Cause I expect myself to play at a high level and to dominate, and if I’m not making plays that people around me are making plays. So as far as the number, I mean, yeah, it’s great. Like I say, it’s awesome. I mean, don’t get me wrong, but … as far as the pressure? No.”
On his expectations of himself:
“When I go out on the field and play, I want to be the best player on the field, and my goal is to be the best player on the field, and to eventually get to that Hall of Fame status and be mentioned with Reggie White, Bruce Smith, and all the greats. That’s where I want my name. So coming into this free agency, that’s kind of what happened, but it’s just only the first step.”
More on this story as the first day of this mini-camp progresses.
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