- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 5, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Albert Haynesworth has finally proved his worth for the Washington Redskins.

In the midst of this Redskins revival — a 9-7 record and an NFC East title after a 4-12 season — Haynesworth has resurfaced on social media.

It couldn’t have come at a better time.

Using a widely-circulated photo of two fans standing on the field at AT&T Stadium wearing Dallas Cowboys jerseys with “RGIII” and No. 10 on the back, Haynesworth performed this public service for Redskins fans by writing the following on Twitter:

“Something must be wrong within the organization when [a] majority of their high profile players end up not liking them.”

If you are a Redskins fan, reading that tweet in the midst of the impressive beatdown your team gave the Cowboys to finish out the season was icing on the cake.

It reminded you of how bad it has been here — and possibly how far this franchise has come from the days of Haynesworth being carted off the field because he tapped out against an opponent.

Haynesworth serves a purpose. He is the symbol of the bottom of the barrel for the Redskins.

That’s no small accomplishment. There is no shortage of moments or personalities that could symbolize Redskins dysfunction, but Haynesworth is the king — the worst contract in NFL history who then wound up costing Washington through a devastating salary cap penalty when it tried to dig its way out of the Haynesworth crater.

Albert Haynesworth. Never forget.

This team still has a long way to go to prove that it is not capable of yet again sinking into the Haynesworth culture. One season does not a culture change make. We all thought Mike Shanahan had changed the culture at Redskins Park. He wound up crawling out of the building, defeated by a young quarterback who had the ear of the owner and his own agenda.

But veterans like center Kory Lichtensteiger — who was present for the Shanahan culture change misfire — told reporters last week that he saw real evidence this year in the building that change was taking hold.

You didn’t need a decoder ring to figure out Lichtensteiger wasn’t just talking about Kirk Cousins when he used words like “repercussions” and “rewards” and spoke about “hard work.”

Later, after another photo showed Griffin hugging those fans wearing the Cowboys jerseys, Haynesworth wrote, “I rest my case,” with one of the hashtags #notjustme.

It’s no coincidence that Haynesworth sees himself a kindred spirit of Griffin’s.

They are both symbols of a dysfunctional past. Griffin’s continued presence on this roster — taking up a spot that Gruden and company could use and putting the team at risk for $16.2 million if he somehow winds up injured and can’t pass a physical once the season ends.

I know everyone wants to pin a medal on Griffin for the way he has handled himself this year after being benched by Gruden. He has been quiet, and, according to most accounts, not a disruptive or divisive presence within the locker room.

Think about this one for a minute: He is being praised for this because the expectation was different. He has been a disruptive and divisive presence during much of his time with the Redskins, so of course, we expected the worst from him when he was no longer being indulged.

He hasn’t done that. Then again, it’s not like he had many voices in the locker room who would have joined Griffin if he had chosen to campaign for his case as the Redskins‘ starting quarterback. He didn’t have one.

Apparently, though, he has a friend in Haynesworth.

⦁ Thom Loverro is co-host of “The Sports Fix,” noon to 2 p.m. daily on ESPN 980 and espn980.com.

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