ASHBURN, VA. (AP) - Early Friday morning, the cones were lined up 25 yards apart on the field for Albert Haynesworth’s conditioning test. He needed to complete the first part in 70 seconds or less to have a chance to pass.
He clocked 71.
Another failed effort. Once again, the two-time All-Pro defensive tackle was not allowed to participate in practice at Washington Redskins training camp.
And so the Haynesworth saga drags on. By now, some coaches or organizations would have worked out some sort of a behind-the-scenes compromise in the name of team harmony and good publicity, especially with one measly second hanging in the balance. Not Mike Shanahan. The rules are the rules are the rules for the Redskins new coach, no matter who the player is.
“Either you play by the rules, you’re gone or you’ll get fined, one of the two,” fullback Mike Sellers said. “He’s a no-nonsense guy. A lot of the vets around here who are pretty much old-school guys appreciate it.”
Perhaps Haynesworth didn’t see it coming, especially after spending last season under laid-back, player-friendly coach Jim Zorn. Or perhaps he thought by now he’d be playing for another team. Or perhaps he’d heard stories about the “star treatment” given to Redskins players such as Michael Westbrook, Bruce Smith and Clinton Portis over the years.
“He wants to come in and put a lot of discipline in this thing,” defensive end Phillip Daniels said. “Discipline is the key.”
So, for Haynesworth, the second day of training camp was much like the first. After failing the test, he was sent inside to do treadmill and agility work while the rest of the team practiced. After practice, Haynesworth emerged in a long-sleeved gray T-shirt and burgundy shorts and spent about 15 minutes walking through some plays with defensive coordinator Jim Haslett in order to learn the playbook.
A few fans yelled support as Haynesworth walked back to the building. He paused to sign a few autographs but did not speak to reporters.
The Redskins, however, took a different approach in explaining the whole thing. Shanahan had previously declined to reveal the details of Haynesworth’s conditioning test, but on Friday the team sent out strength and conditioning coach Ray Wright to give a full breakdown.
Haynesworth, explained Wright, was the only player required to take the test because he was the only player not to attend 50 percent of the team’s offseason workouts. However, the players did run the same drill as part of those workouts in the spring.
The test consists of 300 yards of sprints _ called a “shuttle” _ back and forth 25 yards at a time. It has to be run twice, with only a 3 1/2-minute break in between. The short break demonstrates that the player can recover quickly. Linemen have to run the first shuttle in 70 seconds, the second one in 73 seconds.
Haynesworth clocked 70 seconds on the first shuttle when he tried to pass the test on Friday _ but he then violated the test’s rules by taking an extended potty break.
“He had to use the restroom,” Wright said. “You get 3 1/2 minutes. He was gone close to 10.”