The Washington Redskins couldn’t even get through Christmas Day without controversy.
Coach Jim Zorn sent home defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, the team’s highest-paid player, “for disciplinary reasons” after Haynesworth arrived late to Friday’s team meetings.
Zorn and Haynesworth had a lengthy discussion on a field adjacent to where the rest of the team was going through warmups before Haynesworth left the facility.
“I think all that will be kept between Albert and I,” Zorn said of the discussion. “He wasn’t belligerent or nasty to me and I was not nasty to him. It was just something that needed to be done. It was a difference in logic maybe and differences of priority.”
This was Zorn’s first experience with such discipline during his two years as coach.
“It was necessary,” Zorn said. “It’s not unique to me. It happens around the NFL. I see those things handled all the time. Hopefully I’m handling things in a proper way.”
Zorn said he hadn’t explained the situation to the rest of the players, but they couldn’t help but notice. “It’s like a circus around here,” said one veteran player. “It’s always something, even on Christmas.”
Another referred to the incident the latest episode of “As The Redskins Turn.”
Another veteran recalled that Haynesworth had publicly questioned the team’s leadership after Monday’s embarassing 45-12 home loss to the New York Giants. Shaking his head, the teammate said, “And then Albert goes and does this.”
Zorn said Haynesworth will rejoin the Redskins for Saturday’s walkthrough and will play in Sunday’s home finale against the Dallas Cowboys. Haynesworth was limited in Thursday’s practice with a leg injury, but Zorn said he felt better on Friday. The team officially listed him as questionable for Sunday’s game at FedEx Field.
This is not the first disciplinary incident for Haynesworth, who during the offseason left the Tennessee Titans for the Redskins by signing a seven-year, $100 million contract with $41 million guaranteed. He infamously stomped on the bare head of Dallas center Andre Gurode in 2006. His wife requested a restraining order against him in October in the wake of a battle over child support and alimony. And Haynesworth is being sued by a Nashville man, who was injured in a car crash last December in which Haynesworth was cited for speeding. Just this past week, the NFL fined Haynesworth $10,000 for throwing and landing a punch during the Monday night loss to New York.
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