Despite the optimistic words from defensive coordinator Jim Haslett yesterday, defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth wasn’t at practice today, nor was he on the sidelines while the team was working. Instead he was in the facility, running on a treadmill alongside head strength and conditioning coach Ray Wright. But he did emerge afterward — as you can see in the AP photo above — and work with Haslett, defensive line coach Jacob Burney, and some upside-down trashcans on some of the defensive scheme and terminology.
That was the extent of his work, but not the extent of the discussion around him. Haynesworth was one of the main topics of head coach Mike Shanahan’s post-practice press conference, and it started out with just about the simplest possible declaration:
“Albert did not pass his conditioning test.”
Which went a long way toward clearing up the conflicting and confusing stories that were running around the perimeter of the practice field today. Shahanan continued, “Obviously, you’d like him to be in the type of shape that most of our players are in. The bottom line is that we’re going to get him in shape. If he’s going to be on our football team and he’s going to play at the level we’d like him to play, then he’s got to be in great football shape. Hopefully he’ll get it done tomorrow, but it may take two or three days, it may take a week. I really don’t know. His weight is fine. We’ve just got to get that cardio at a certain level to make sure he doesn’t injure himself.”
And that was all that was said about Albert Haynesworth.
No, just kidding. There was plenty more. Here, look, from the team’s transcript:
On what was said when Albert Haynesworth was told he failed his conditioning test:
“I don’t go through our conversations together. I think he knows that he’s got to pass this test. He’s got to work extremely hard to make sure that cardiovascular endurance is there, and when he does that, I feel very comfortable to put him on the field and let him compete for that position.”
On if he and Albert Haynesworth exchanged heated words:
“Obviously when I say I’m not going to share the conversation I had, that means I’m not going to share the conversation I had. But there were no words. Albert was first class all the way. He understood where I was coming from and understands that he’s got to be at a certain level to go out on the field and practice with the rest of that football team. If he gets there then he’ll be with us and if he doesn’t, he won’t.”
On the conditioning test given to Albert Haynesworth:
“It’s a basic conditioning test. We get a good idea if a guy is in shape. We put a lot of our linemen through it, offense and defense. We do it through our conditioning drills throughout the OTAs. It’s a very fair test. But more importantly, it keeps a guy from getting hurt. I don’t want to put a guy out there that’s not ready to go and all of the sudden, there’s a setback for two weeks. It just doesn’t make sense. Albert’s got a lot of ability. We get him in great football shape, he can help us. But I’m not going to put him out there until he’s in that kind of shape.
On reports that the players who attended the offseason program did not have to take that conditioning test:
“That’s exactly right, and that’s part of being in the offseason program. You don’t have to take the test. There’s a certain percentage of workouts that you’ve got to be here, and if you’re in that percentage, you don’t have to go through the conditioning test because we knew you’re in good shape. You had done this test in a lot of different running drills along the way.”
On if what it will take for Albert Haynesworth to get back on the field:
“You’ve got to pass the test. Will it happen? Is there going to be a setback tomorrow? Will he make it tomorrow? I can’t tell you. The only thing I can tell you is that when he does pass the test, I feel very good that he can go out and compete at that position. I don’t want to throw him out there and all of the sudden he gets hurt and it takes two weeks to recover.”
On if any other players had attendance low enough to warrant taking the conditioning test:
“No, he was the only one. That was said very early. Jammal Brown was signed late, and he was here for a couple of weeks for conditioning and did very well in that test, by the way.”
On if he would classify the conditioning test as tough for someone Albert Haynesworth’s size:
“Well, I can say this: All of our other linemen passed the test.”
Still more on Albert Haynesworth:
“I think we’ve covered Albert enough. I think he understands where I’m coming from. I don’t know if it’s going to happen tomorrow. I hope so. Could it take a week? It could. I really can’t tell you. But when he does come back he’s going to be in shape and hopefully he’s ready to go. One time a day he’s going to have that opportunity [to pass the test], and if not, we’ll put him through the type of workout he had both in the morning and the afternoon.”
And that was it about Albert Haynesworth.
Ha ha, no, got you again!
On if the defensive line could be formidable with both Albert Haynesworth and Ma’ake Kemoeatu:
“‘Could be’ is the key word. We’ve got to get it done. What we’re going to do is work extremely hard. We’ve got some parameters that we expect from our players. We get everybody to play at the top of their ability, and we have a chance to be good. The key is people working extremely hard and doing the things we expect them to do and hopefully that’ll get done.”
Okay, that really WAS it with Haynesworth. I devoutly hope that he passes his conditioning test tomorrow and we can just focus on what he does on the field.
Other important notes from Shanahan’s talk:
- He expects rookie Trent Williams to to sign “in the near future,” even mentioning “hopefully tomorrow.”
- Mike Williams is officially shut down for the year. “Mike is going to have this year off.
He’ll be released.Any time you’re on the blood thinner, you can’t compete. Mike will be off this season. Hopefully in six months he’ll take a physical and be able to play. I had a good conversation with Mike today, and he’s going to live in the area, try to keep in great shape. He wants to keep on playing football and hopefully he’ll be able to.” [UPDATE: Williams is being placed on non-football illness, not being released.]
- Ma’ake Kemoeatu was getting over a fever but “worked through it.”
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