- Associated Press - Thursday, July 29, 2010

ASHBURN, VA. (AP) - A slimmed-down Albert Haynesworth was deemed unfit to practice, even though the players were wearing shorts, contact was sparse, and the whole thing last only 70 minutes.

In the latest test of wills between Haynesworth and coach Mike Shanahan, the two-time All-Pro defensive lineman was kept off the field for the opening session of Washington Redskins training camp Thursday after failing a conditioning test.

“The bottom line,” Shanahan said, “is we’re going to get him in shape.”

Haynesworth’s only appearance came after the practice was over, when he spent about 20 minutes walking through some plays with two assistant coaches. Looking perhaps 30 pounds leaner than he did a year ago, Haynesworth hovered around large upside-down trash bins _ representing offensive linemen _ as he learned the defense’s terminology. He didn’t speak to reporters.

Shanahan said Haynesworth will take the test once a day until he passes. If Haynesworth fails, he’ll have to spend extra time on the treadmill _ as he did Thursday _ and will continue to be absent from practice.

Haynesworth boycotted the team’s offseason workouts and minicamps because he is unhappy with the Redskins‘ switch to a 3-4 defense and wanted a trade. When he finally returned to Redskins Park on Wednesday, he was told he would have to pass the conditioning test to take part in training camp and would start off practicing with the reserves.

Haynesworth was the only player required to take the test. Everyone else on the team attended a certain percentage of offseason workouts required by Shanahan. The test involves two series of demanding back-and-forth sprints that must be completed in a certain time.

“The conditioning test, I don’t even think a lot of us guys that were even here 100 percent could have passed that thing,” cornerback DeAngelo Hall. “But that’s what conditioning tests are, that’s what they’re supposed to be, they’re supposed to be some of them unattainable. Some we’ve had in the past were definitely unattainable.”

But Shanahan maintained that Haynesworth was not set up to fail. He said all the other linemen essentially passed the test by taking part in the offseason workouts.

“It’s a very fair test,” Shanahan said. “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 a sudden there’s a setback for two weeks.”

Shanahan’s reasoning carried less weight on a day when practice was not particularly demanding, and on a day when receiver Malcolm Kelly was allowed to practice on a wet field despite nursing a sore hamstring. Also, while conditioning tests are routine among NFL teams, failure to pass hasn’t necessarily excluded a player from participation. The Redskins had three players fail the test in 2008, but all three took part as usual in training camp practices.

When told he had failed the test, Haynesworth was “first-class all the way” in accepting the news, according to Shanahan. The coach indicated there were no harsh words exchanged.

Haynesworth doesn’t want to play nose tackle in a 3-4 defense and would rather be in a scheme that gives him the freedom that helped make him a dominant player for many years with the Tennessee Titans. But he also declined Shanahan’s offer to find another team and accepted a $21 million bonus on April 1, part of the seven-year, $100 million deal signed as a free agent a year ago.

The saga overshadowed the team’s start of a new chapter with new coach Shanahan and new quarterback Donovan McNabb. Players have tried to ignore the distraction, but several called Haynesworth “selfish” when he skipped the mandatory minicamp last month.

“The sooner all this gets behind us,” center Casey Rabach said, “it’ll be better for this team.”

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