While there has been much consternation in the nation’s capital with the on-going saga of coach vs. player, the Tennessee Titans were preparing for their opening day opponent, the Oakland Raiders.
But lurking in the background were the thoughts of, how serious is the team's pursuit in reacquiring defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, who has openly clashed with new Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan?
It does seem pretty clear, at this point, that the price tag is too high for the Titans' liking. With the talk that the Redskins are seeking two picks, one possibly being as high as a second-rounder, look for this to stay in a holding pattern or go away unless concessions are made in the near future. As TitanInsider reported on Tuesday, Tennessee is likely willing to part with a fourth-round pick.
It was hard to escape the subject matter Wednesday at practice with everyone honing in on “the question” regarding Haynesworth. It even made its way back to Oakland with quarterback Jason Campbell, Haynesworth's former teammate in Washington, saying on a conference call with the Nashville media, when he was asked if he had been following the Haynesworth situation.
“I guess you have no choice but to follow it. Every time I cut the TV on there is something going on about it,” Campbell said. “I am pretty sure he doesn’t like having to see that every day and hear about it every day. That’s a tough situation; it is something that I think has really been escalated to a whole other level now. You don’t know which parts of it are really true, and which parts of it is really not, but I’m pretty sure it’s tough on him having to look up every day and be judged by a whole country and see everything on TV.”
Then the question was thrown out if heard there was a chance that Haynesworth may end up back in Tennessee.
“Tell him to wait until after this week, then he can make his move. It wouldn’t surprise me, there have been talks of that all offseason,” he said. “I remember back in March and April they were talking about that, so I think it just came back around again. It circulates, I know he played in Tennessee a long time, he has a home there. I know he’s comfortable there, but like I said you never know what’s going to happen. I’m pretty sure his Washington teammates want him to stay there too, though.”
While Jeff Fisher was remaining steadfast with his answers on the subject, not addressing it, a few former teammates of Haynesworth weighed in on the matter in the locker room.
“I think Coach Fisher does a great job of keeping that in the hands of those that can control it,” safety Chris Hope said. “It’s not like we’re going to take a vote and they’re gonna listen to us and say bring Albert back or, no, we don’t want Albert back. It’s out of our control. We can only focus on ourselves, the guys in this locker room and the Raiders.”
Hope went on to say, “Being that he has played with most of the guys in this defensive line meeting room, I’m sure they would welcome him back with open arms. I know Coach Wash [Jim Washburn] loves him. I’m not sure exactly the relationship with the rest of the guys in here. But anytime you come back to the team you were drafted at, I’m pretty sure they would welcome him back.”
While Jason Jones wasn’t willing to go down that path, one of his line mates Tony Brown did.
“I haven’t really thought about it. Until something does or doesn’t happen, he’s still in Washington,” Brown said. “I’m pretty sure he wants to get out of there. I’m just being honest. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t want to be there. That’s just something he’s going to have to deal with until something happens.”
With Oakland on the Titans' minds, and Redskins coach Mike Shanahan saying Haynesworth would be with the team against Dallas, you do wonder if bringing back their former first-round pick from 2002 is still in the cards.