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Cooley says Haynesworth was only in it for the money

11:40 PM, Oct 29, 2013   |    comments
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(USA Today) -- Chris Cooley unloaded on Albert Haynesworth last week, calling the defensive tackle "an awful human being."

DC Sports Bog pulled his comments from a radio show.

It's hardly surprising to hear a critique of Haynesworth, who left a very, very, very large swath of torched earth wherever he went.

But Cooley's comments give us an interesting look inside an NFL locker room - and into the thinking of players who end up making millions upon millions to play a game.

As fans, we probably apply our own feelings to watching them run around the field: Wouldn't it be amazing to go out and have fun with your teammates - your brothers - while getting filthy rich?

What we never think is: How many of these guys are purely hired guns, putting in the hours while searching for the biggest paycheck? How many, in other words, acknowledge at every level that it's just a job?

We start with a discussion about big-money free agents who flop. Cooley, the former Redskins TE, insists that Haynesworth intentionally played poorly after signing a $100 million deal with the team:

"His goal was to come here, make a large signing bonus, and then get released and not have to do any of the work. He didn't care about the back end of that contract,  he didn't care about making all of that money. His idea was, you paid me for what I did in the past, and my goal is to be released as soon as possible and basically take $33 million from you for absolutely nothing."

Interestingly, Haynesworth appeared to be open about his desire to filch the money and step away. He viewed himself as something of a vigilante. Or at least that's how Cooley interpreted it, saying:

"I guess his point to it, or his excuse for it, was well, the leagues steal from all you guys, the leagues won't pay you YOUR salaries, they won't give you YOUR money, so I'm gonna get what's right from them."

See? Albert Haynesworth was just stealing from the Super Rich while being a terrible teammate to the Very Rich, since the Super Rich try their hardest to not fork over all their money to the Very Rich (such stinginess being how the Super Rich got that way in the first place.)

OK. Considering how willing NFL owners are to push for tax-payer subsidies at every turn despite running the highly profitable league, it's difficult for anyone to make them seem like sympathetic figures. But Haynesworth comes close.

Ultimately, the fan loses. Haynesworth hurt Redskins followers in a very direct way: by not bothering to play well AND by destroying the team's long-term planning (and spending).

And to the die-hard fan, what he did is unimaginable: to so blatantly treat his career - and by extension the talent he was born with and the work of the people who helped him hone it - as a money grab should make all of us stop and think about this enormous engine we power with our fanhood - and dollars.

Haynesworth seems to be an outlier, though. There are few players who take such a coarse approach to their work. A great many of them embrace the idea of playing for a city and find it important that their on-the-field passion match that of the guy in Section 225, Row H, Seat 12.

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