"Next year, I'm not coming either.''
-- Washington defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, after what he deemed was an insulting move by coach Mike Shanahan -- making him play in the third quarter of the second preseason game, when the field is full of backups. He referred to his plans for next offseason, when he said he will duplicate what he did this offseason, which is to not show up for the offseason program. This infuriated Shanahan.
Who ever said there will be a next year?
Hard to imagine how this one's going to get resolved peacefully.
On Sunday, Jason LaCanfora of NFL Network reported Haynesworth may be suffering from rhabdomyolysis, the breakdown of muscle fibers, which causes overall weakness in the body. Shanahan clearly has been miffed that Haynesworth has been missing practices through camp, and Haynesworth was also miffed that the club was describing his malady as headaches.
The Redskins won't be releasing Haynesworth, not after paying him $35 million over the past 18 months. But I can't see him being with the team beyond this year. But that wasn't the only quotable excitement about the Redskins over the weekend. Then it was the coach's turn ...
"One thing for sure that is clear to me is that Albert has gotten away in the past with playing without practicing. That will not happen under this regime. If he's going to play, he's going to practice, and that is the same with every player here. The days of him playing without practicing are over. And that, to me, says it all.''
-- Shanahan, to AOL FanHouse's Thomas George on Sunday.
"I ain't never said it, but Belichick, I felt like he had a thing for me. He had something against me. I have no idea why ... I know in my heart ain't nobody out there doing what I'm doing.''
-- Philadelphia cornerback Asante Samuel to Geoff Mosher of the Wilmington News Journal, referring to a lack of respect he felt came from Bill Belichick when he played for the Patriots.
That's absurd. Belichick simply didn't value a corner who didn't tackle well as being a $9-million-a-year player. Smart move on his part.
Samuel's a very good player, but he isn't near what all-around corner Darrelle Revis or Nnamdi Asomugha are, and his awful fourth quarter against the Giants helped cost the Patriots what would have been a Super Bowl title. Teams throw at Samuel far more than they throw at Revis or Asomugha.
"We had no hair spray, had no combs, didn't have a mirror, so I have no idea what it's going to look like. We didn't even have a toothbrush. I cut off a little piece of palm frond to scrape the tartar off my teeth. We had nothing. I had the shirt on my back, a pair of shorts, a pair of shoes and that was it.''
-- Jimmy Johnson, the former Cowboys and Dolphins coach and current Fox-TV analyst, on his hardship in doing the CBS show "Survivor: Nicaragua,'' via Sportsradiointerviews.com, in an interview on ESPN 1080 in Orlando.
In the interview, Johnson also said this about the Vikings' desperate pursuit of Brett Favre: "You sacrifice so much of the team concept when you make so many concessions for one player. It's almost like he's the savior and if he doesn't carry us to the promise land, then the rest of them aren't going to be able to do it. Some of the other players have to be saying, 'What about me?'''
"I gave a lot of people reasons to throw daggers, I understand that, which makes the pressure even greater."
-- Brett Favre to Al Michaels on NBC Sunday night, on how he managed to enrage so many fans and the media by his three-years-running summer act about playing or quitting.
The 44 voters for the Pro Football Hall of Fame are going to have a very interesting decision on our hands in seven or eight years. That's the case of Hines Ward, 34, who appears set to open the season as the Steelers' number one receiver again, with second-year man Mike Wallace on the other side to replace Santonio Holmes.
Both receivers who started for the Steelers glory teams, Lynn Swann and John Stallworth, are in the Hall. Swann and Stallworth played on four Super Bowl winners. Ward has played on two. The most interesting stat comparing Swann, Stallworth and the charismatic Ward: In 12 seasons, Ward has caught more balls than Swann and Stallworth caught in a combined 23 seasons.
To be sure, the game's changed in the generation since Swann and Stallworth gained fame. In 1978, the Steelers passed on 39 percent of their offensive plays. In 2009, they passed on 58 percent. That's why judging players for the Hall of Fame has become such a divisive, difficult process. By the numbers and the championships, comparing Ward to past Steeler wideouts who made the Hall, he's deserving. But numbers haven't made the difference for Cris Carter and Tim Brown.
The comparison between Ward and his predecessors:
Ward told me the other day his "ultimate goal'' is to get to 1,000 career receptions. And if he had three times the catches of Swann, with the same number of Super Bowl MVPs (one) ... well, that's a pretty good case to make for Canton.
"Not bad,'' Ward said, "for a guy picked in the third round, with no ACL in one knee, picked as pretty much a special-teams player by a team that really didn't throw that much. I'm pretty amazed by it.''
I never judge a player with finality until his career is over. It bugs me when I read a guy in mid-career is a "future Hall of Famer.'' But Ward, to me, is one of the best total football players at any position I've ever covered. He has three edges over some of the big-number guys. Two championships. One of the best blocking wide receivers ever, though some will hold it against him that he's had a few dirty hits on defensive players in his career. And a leader of the highest degree, the way Michael Irvin was in Dallas. I think leadership helped Irvin. Irvin leads Ward in Super Bowl wins, 3-2. Ward leads in receptions, 895-750, and could make the edge daunting in the next couple of years.
I got an up-close glimpse of the leadership thing again last week in Latrobe, Pa., the longtime summer home of the Steelers. Craig Wolfley, one of the radio voices of the Steelers, saw it too, at practice one afternoon, watching Ward with the young receivers. "Hines runs the show here,'' Wolfley said. "They follow him like little ducklings.''
Interesting postscript from Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Ward played in his 40th stadium in his career Saturday night when he stepped onto the field at the new Meadowlands Stadium. That includes Morgantown, W. Va. (for a preseason game his rookie year), Mexico City and Toronto. His 41st, said Bouchette, would be the Cowboys new stadium -- if the Steelers reach the Super Bowl.
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