If you come here with any regularity, you know that I have been saying that the Albert Haynesworth saga will not end soon after the NFL lockout is lifted. Those who are hoping this whole thing will just be over sooner rather than later are not likely to get that wish.
It is therefore not surprising that Haynesworth will be in training camp when that starts up in a week or so, presuming that the lockout is over by then. It is pretty simple. Albert Haynesworth is under contract to the Washington Redskins. Players under contract have to report to camp. And, assuming that there is no provision to the contrary in the new CBA, the Redskins have to let him come in.
When Albert does arrive in Ashburn, expect something of a media circus but not much else. He should be in top shape and ready for a conditioning test similar to the one he took over a week to pass last year. Any comments to the media will be vanilla. If he still is on the team when preseason games start, a likely scenario, he will not complain if he is playing in the fourth quarter.
In short, Haynesworth needs to be on his best behavior. He will be under an electron microscope. His goal is to be traded to another team, preferably one that plays a 4-3 defense but definitely not one that is coached by Mike Shanahan.
Certainly he has heard the reports that Shanahan will not release him. Whether or not Haynesworth believes those reports, it would be a very risky strategy for him to proceed as though he is bluffing.
The bottom line is that Haynesworth needs to make himself very tradeable. If no other team is willing to throw a draft pick the Redskins' way for Albert's services he could face another year in Washington, perhaps inactive a majority of the time. In 2012, he would be another year older with one more year left on his contract, a deal that has a 2013 balloon payment that virtually guarantees he will be released. His prospects for another big payday, or even for landing a moderately-sized deal, would be dim.
Even if Shanahan does release him, Haynesworth would gain his freedom but lose a lot of money. Thanks to the fact that he blew off last year's mandatory minicamp, his $5.4 million salary this year is not guaranteed. He almost certainly would be picked up by another team but it is also certain that he would not get anywhere near that salary when he did sign a new contract.
It is in Haynesworth's best interest to avoid being a story in training camp. You can say many things about Haynesworth but he is not stupid. And coming in out of shape and becoming a camp distraction would be a very, very stupid thing to do.