Antonio Pierce: Haynesworth must play for pride
Having gone nearly three days without typing a word about Albert Haynesworth, I've been feeling a bit unwell. Twitching hands, aching trick knees, an uncertainty whether pride ought force a $100 million man to show up for football in June, the whole bit.
Luckily, I remembered that I'd yet to include the comments of Antonio Pierce about one Albert Haynesworth. Pierce -- formerly a football player, now of ESPN -- didn't rap Haynesworth about the face with rusted hammers the way some of his fellow ex-players have done, but he certainly showed no sympathy for the striking player.
"He's a football player," Pierce said last week on the LaVar and Dukes show. "When the guy really wants to strap it up and put the pads on and play football, he's unstoppable. That has to come from within himself. There's nothing that nobody on that team can say or do to him. And you already know, you can't push a guy who's the highest paid guy on your team. What's the motivation there? He's not motivated to get paid. He already got the payday. Now it's got to be personal, a pride thing."
In a previous Haynesworth chronicle, Ron Saul suggested that Redskins of his vintage would have taken Haynesworth out behind the barn and done....something. Pierce said his generation of Redskins would have shown up at Haynesworth's house and demanded a change.
"Anything he missed that wasn't mandatory, I can understand," Pierce said. "But when it comes to training camp and these mandatory mini-camps, he should be there. I think what would have happened in our locker room, at the time when we were in Washington, we had some very strong personalities. And people would have been very outspoken about not having the guy there. We probably wouldn't have even waited. We would have either fought him or we would have gone to his house and said you know what, you need to get your butt off your couch, you need to come join us, because if we're out here working hard....
"There's no reason that 85 guys or 84 guys are out there working hard and this one guy isn't....We was a tight knit group. I don't think nobody on that team would have let it go that far, to wait 'til the last mini-camp to kind of express yourself. And my hats are off to guys like London Fletcher and Phillip Daniels who are now speaking out, but that should have been nipped in the bud in the beginning....
"What they did at the end of the offseason was huge. It puts the pressure now on Albert Haynesworth. There's nothing like getting called out by your teammates. I don't care how much money you get paid, you do not want to ever get called out by your teammates."
Pierce said he honestly believes that Haynesworth will show up at training camp and prove people wrong. That's perhaps a minority opinion among the ex-player crowd. But Pierce certainly subscribes to the party line that even in a sport where contracts are not guaranteed and veterans are regularly sent packing, Haynesworth's signature should mean something.
"At the end of the day, we all get paid to do one thing: play football," Pierce said. "A lot of us aren't happy with the way our defense is being ran, our position coach, your D-coordinator, your head coach, ownership, front office. Regardless, at the end of the day you're getting a check written to you to play football in the National Football League for that team. And when you signed your name on that dotted line, that was your commitment to that team, and to your teammates, and to your fans."
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