Looks like Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan knows how to counterpunch.
After enduring an offseason dominated by defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth's defiant absence, Shanahan extracted a little revenge Thursday when training camp opened.
Haynesworth didn't pass Shanahan's conditioning test.
Forget this bygones-be-bygones nonsense. Shanahan showed Haynesworth who's boss with the only tool possible -- playing time.
More from training campRedskins Confidential blogHaynesworth flunks conditioning test
Now Shanahan did everything by the book. Haynesworth was the only player taking the test because he skipped offseason team activities. The coach said the drill was part of offseason workouts, so other players already passed the test.
But Shanahan wasn't taking the chance of having Haynesworth step on the field and come up lame 30 minutes later in a form of protest. Players who are upset with coaches have done it before.
"I don't want to put a guy out there that's not ready to go and all of a sudden he was set back for two weeks," Shanahan said. "Albert's got a lot of ability. We get him in great football shape, he can help us, but I'm not going to put him out there until he's in that type of shape."
Haynesworth didn't talk with the media after spending practice performing some drills with coaches. The long walk past the crowd drew both cheers and jeers. It seems Haynesworth is a divisive force among fans, too.
Given Haynesworth appears to have lost at least 30 pounds, it's surprising he couldn't pass the conditioning test that reportedly was a series of sprints totaling 300 yards. Shanahan declined comment on the drill other than labeling it a "basic conditioning test."
But really, how do you lose 30-plus pounds and fail a physical challenge? Haynesworth's weight loss must not have involved cardio work. Maybe he tried that green tea diet. Or perhaps he ate a lot of fish while out on his mini-yacht.
Then again, how often does a defensive lineman run the 50 yards the test reportedly involved? Maybe once a season on a fumble return? They might sprint 15 yards on a sack or while chasing a runner at best. It makes you wonder about the test's worthiness. Shanahan offered no timetable on Haynesworth passing. Purgatory works best when the timetable's uncertain. The season is six weeks away so there's no hurry.
Round one goes to the coach. But somehow, this looks like a long bout barring a trade.
Rick Snider has covered local sports since 1978. Read more at TheRickSniderReport.com and Twitter @Snide_Remarks or e-mail email@example.com.