NASHVILLE, TENN. (AP) - The Washington Redskins and Tennessee Titans are in discussions about a trade of disgruntled defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, people with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press.
The people spoke to the AP on Tuesday on condition of anonymity because the talks are confidential.
Washington signed Haynesworth to a $100 million contract in 2009 as a free agent, and the tackle accepted a $21 million bonus in April. It’s been a nonstop battle of wills between Redskins coach Mike Shanahan and the ex-Tennessee star since then.
The Titans declined to comment, and the Redskins did not immediately respond to requests for comment. But Titans coach Jeff Fisher was asked about the team’s interest Tuesday night during his weekly radio show on WGFX-FM 104.5 The Zone, and he said Haynesworth is under contract with the Redskins.
“If they’re willing to look into the possibility of dealing him, of course we’ll listen to them. We listen to those types of things almost every day,” Fisher said.
“This just happens to be a big story because of the circumstances and the situation that arose with the offseason payment and then of course with all the drama associated with the offseason conditioning and the conditioning test and everything. Our focus right now is on the Raiders.”
“He plays a major part on our defense, and everyone knows that,” McNabb told ESPN980. “It’s just unfortunate what’s been going on and how everything has transpired, but that’s the game of football, and I think he’ll handle it the right way.”
ESPN first reported the teams were discussing a possible Haynesworth deal.
Shanahan was hired in January, and Haynesworth did not participate in the team’s offseason program while lobbying for a trade because he didn’t want to play nose tackle in the new 3-4 defense. Shanahan gave Haynesworth a chance to leave, but the tackle stayed and accepted the bonus in his contract.
Haynesworth skipped a mandatory minicamp and was fined. In training camp, Shanahan required Haynesworth to pass a conditioning test before practicing, which Haynesworth didn’t do until the 10th day of camp. The tackle seemed to be accepting his role in the 3-4 defense by the third preseason game.
Then Shanahan made Haynesworth play almost the entire game Thursday in the preseason finale against Arizona when the regular starters had the night off. Haynesworth played 49 of 55 snaps and was on the field in the final minutes.
His status for Sunday night’s opener against Dallas has been in question with Shanahan saying only that he will play the best players ready to play.
The Titans have missed Haynesworth’s presence in the middle of their line, slumping to 31 sacks without him helping collapse offensive lines. He managed only four sacks with the Redskins himself, a big dip from his 8 1/2 sacks in 2008 with Tennessee.
And the Titans know him well, having drafted Haynesworth in the first round in 2002. They used the franchise tag to keep Haynesworth in 2008 to help keep him focused, and the deal they eventually offered in 2009 was nowhere near what he got from Washington in the first hours of free agency.