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Redskins Insider: London Fletcher: Albert Haynesworth is 'selfish'

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With rain falling fast, the Redskins left the field after less than 30 minutes of practice on Wednesday. Following the abbreviated practice, several players addressed Albert Haynesworth's absence, and perhaps none was as outspoken as linebacker London Fletcher, who called Haynesworth "selfish" and said the highly-compensated defensive tackle "can't be depended upon." Fletcher is the unquestioned leader of the unit, and when he speaks, it's usually worth listening to. He didn't hold anything back when discussing Haynesworth and the defensive tackle's decision to skip the mandatory minicamp. "I agree with the assessment that Albert has made a very selfish decision. When you play a team sport, you have to look at it and think about everybody involved in the situation. This is not golf, tennis, things like that where it's an all-about-you sport. What he's decided to do is make a decision based all about him. It's no different than


Washington Redskins - Albert Haynesworth - Defensive tackle - London Fletcher - sport

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Remember a couple of weeks ago when we were discussing whether or not the pointed comments about AH coming out of the Redskins locker room meant anything?

How about now?

Fletcher is the unquestioned leader of the unit, and when he speaks, it's usually worth listening to. He didn't hold anything back when discussing Haynesworth and the defensive tackle's decision to skip the mandatory minicamp.

"I agree with the assessment that Albert has made a very selfish decision. When you play a team sport, you have to look at it and think about everybody involved in the situation. This is not golf, tennis, things like that where it's an all-about-you sport. What he's decided to do is make a decision based all about him. It's no different than his attitude and his approach to last year's defense, about wanting everything to revolve around him and him making plays. And if it didn't benefit him, he wasn't really willing to do it."

Asked if the locker room could embrace Haynesworth should he return, Fletcher said:

"Obviously, he's under contract with the Washington Redskins. From a business standpoint, I don't see them giving him $32 million and trading him or giving him away. He has the option to give the money back if he really doesn't want to be here. He could always give the money back. But once he decided to take money from this organization, he's a Washington Redskin. I say, yeah, he can come back if he shows he's willing to buy into what we're doing, if he's going to be on- board with what we're trying to do. One man is not going to stop what we're trying to accomplish this year. One man is not going to stop what we're going to accomplish this year. We've got big goals set for us this year, high aspirations. Football is going to be played with him or without him. We're going to play some good football.

Obviously, we want him to be a part of it, but he has to stop being selfish."

Fletcher said he wasn't surprised by Haynesworth's decision, given his past actions and attitudes.

"He can say what he wants to say about him not wanting to be here, wanting to be traded, things like that. There's ways he can not be a Redskin. Give the money back; I'm sure they'd take it. We'll move on without him. I want teammates who I can depend on, who I can count on, who in the fourth quarter of a situation, I know is going to be there to make a play or to do his job that the defense calls -- whether it's responsibilities holding up a lineman or penetrating a gap... I need guys I can depend on. We need people we can depend on. At the end of the day, right now, he's shown that he can't be depended upon."

Update: Here's a few more of Fletcher's comments today.

Question: Is it going to be a distraction and stunt the team's progress?

Fletcher: "It's not going to stunt our progress. As I mentioned, we're gonna play good football this year. The guys that are on the football field with us, the 11 men that line up, we're gonna play good football. It's up to the coaching staff to determine who the best 11 guys are to put on that field to put us in position to win football games."

Question: If Haynewsorth showed up, what would you tell him?

Fletcher: "Nothing. I haven't spoken to him up to this point. I saw him down at the Super Bowl in Miami; we had a little brief conversation but nothing major. So I would just expect him to come in, work hard, work like everybody else. It's really not much that needs to be said. This conversation has taken place with the coaching staff with management back in February when Coach Shanahan was first brought aboard. He knew what we were gonna be doing from a defensive standpoint, There's a lot of guys that have played in certain systems throughout their careers, whether it be a 4-3 defense, things like that. So it's a lot of guys making adjustments to a new change, 4-3 defense. A lot of guys put in that situation. Yeah, maybe they may not be ideally suited for it but they're making an effort to do that because they understand the big picture. They understand it's not about an individual, it's about a team. And we're trying to have a true team model here. Last year we had a lot of selfishness that took place and you got 4-12 out of that. This year, we can't have that."

Question: How early last year did you see signs that Albert wasn't happy, etc.?

Fletcher: "I think when he came in, he fit in. Off the field, obviously, he's a good guy. You like him, you can talk to him. He's not standoffish in that way, but it's just some of the things that if it doesn't benefit him - from a football standpoint - he just doesn't get the big picture of things. That's the really disappointing part of all this. When you decide to play a team sport, there's everybody else you have to take in consideration with decisions that you make, and right now he's not taking everybody else into consideration. It's all about him, how he's going to benefit, 'I don't wanna be here,' this, that, and that. You're in the wrong sport."

Question: Is it different if a player misses minicamp over a contractual situation than something like this?

Fletcher: "Yeah, it is. This is a situation that's really hasn't been...basically uncharted waters. Where a guy has gotten their money -- it's not about contract, this is about 'I don't fit the scheme.' Well, you don't know if you fit the scheme because you haven't been here, so until you come here and see if you fit the scheme...if they're gonna pay you what they're gonna pay you to be a 3-4 end or 3-4 nose tackle, come, be the best 3-4 end, 3-4 nose tackle that you can be, and at the end of the day we'll be happy with you."
 

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