Airwaves: Haynesworth saga a lesson for the NFL 

The Albert Haynesworth situation has been of great interest to me. As a former coach, I always hated these conditioning tests exactly because of what is happening in Washington, D.C., with the Redskins. Haynesworth failed to pass the training camp fitness test in his first few attempts because of his lack of conditioning. Everyone looks bad in this situation.

I think Mike Shanahan is one of the great coaches in the game and is a great guy.

When you make a standard that a player can’t practice until he passes a test, you must back it up. When I was at Southern Cal and with the Rams, we really didn’t have “conditioning tests,” because what do you do if a star player shows up out of shape? Bench him? Not play a potential Heisman Trophy winner? I don’t think so!

This is getting way too much attention. They need to get this guy’s knee better and get him back to playing football.

Yes, a guy of his caliber should be able to pass a seemingly easy test. Yes, he is being paid a fortune and should have come to camp in better physical shape.

But he didn’t, so the Redskins need to solve this issue, and move on. In December, if the Redskins are leading the NFC East, no one will care.

I believe very strongly in the leadership of general manager Bruce Allen and coach Shanahan. Under them, the Washington Redskins will return to a role of prominence in the NFL.

ESPN made a great move on Monday by having co-host of the radio show “Mike and Mike,” Mike Golic, run a conditioning test on TV.

Golic, who is a former NFL defensive lineman, has been out of football for some 15 years, but performed the test and passed it. It was more proof that tests like this are somewhat of a joke.

I know why coaches do it, but in most cases after one practice you can tell if a player is in shape or not.

Of course the bigger question is, why do you even want a guy playing for you that doesn’t care enough to report in some type of decent shape?

 

49ers legend Rice the ideal Hall of Famer

 

A hearty congratulations to Jerry Rice and his family. As everyone now knows, the former 49er great was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday. As always, this is an emotional day for all those involved. Rice was presented by Eddie DeBartolo. This was a smart move by Rice. Mr. D, along with certain others, is clearly as responsible for parts of Rice’s success as anyone. He created an atmosphere where Jerry played with a couple of Hall of Fame quarterbacks and a Hall of Fame coach.

Throw in Carmen Policy and you have a darn strong base to greatness, which is what happened.

Rice deserves this great honor for many reasons. I got to know him while he was with the Raiders, and everything that people say about him in terms of his work ethic, focus and passion for football is 100 percent true. Besides being a gifted athlete, he is also a great person.

Rice is a Hall of Famer in many ways. The entire weekend in Canton, Ohio,  was a 49er reunion. Everyone involved in the past greatness of the team was there. The only person missing was the silver-haired coach. However, I am sure Bill Walsh proudly looked down on the festivities with great pride in seeing another one of his players moving into the Hall of Fame.

-- ESPN and the NFL Network did a solid job of broadcasting the festivities. This broadcast gets a bit monotonous at times, regardless of what outlet it is on.

-- I thought it was really cool that John Randle and Russ Grimm had their position coach present them. Randle, the former Minnesota Viking, had defensive line coach John Teerlinck present him. Grimm, who established fame as a member of the Redskins famed “Hogs” offensive line, had Joe Bugel, his offensive line coach, present him. Great stuff and an honor for those two coaches who helped each man achieve greatness.

 

Who said it

 

Terry Bradshaw

“I didn’t like him in college and I don’t like him now. I don’t like his delivery,” the Fox NFL analyst and Hall of Fame quarterback said when asked about Carolina Panthers QB Jimmy Clausen. Bradshaw has the right to be judgmental on that position. He is more than a pretty face on the tube, he was a great, great NFL signal-caller.

Rex Ryan

“The buzz is this is the team to beat,” the outspoken New York Jets coach said in a commercial for the HBO series “Hard Knocks,” which is featuring the Jets this year. This training camp reality show should really be interesting with this colorful, outspoken coach. The Jets have a cocky swagger that will come across loud and clear on the show.

 

One to watch

 

The NFL returns to the airwaves today at 5 p.m. with the Hall of Fame game from Canton, Ohio. NBC will carry the contest featuring the Cincinnati Bengals and America’s Team, the Dallas Cowboys. This game, although meaningless, is an interesting matchup between two playoff hopefuls. Tony Romo and Carson Palmer are two of the better QBs in the NFL. We’ll get our first glimpse of receivers Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco lining up together for the Bengals. I wonder how many times NBC will show Cowboys wide receiver Miles Austin’s new girlfriend, Kim Kardashian.

 

Sports by numbers

 

Amount Tiger Woods made in 2009 according to Sports Illustrated’s Fortune 50 list

$90 million

Amount Floyd Mayweather made in 2009

$60 million

Amount of money Kobe Bryant makes annually

$33 million 

 

On target

 

Joe Pa. Yes, Joe Paterno, the 83-year-old football coach of Penn State is back and ready to go for his 45th season at the helm. Paterno, looking weak after a short illness, said he is “feeling good and will coach as long as he enjoys it and he feels he is doing a good job.” Paterno clearly does not want to be forced out the way Bobby Bowden was at Florida State. I can not envision this happening in Happy Valley, but you never know.


Artie Gigantino spent 25 years as a coach at the major-college and NFL levels, was lead college football analyst for Fox Sports Net for seven years, was with CBS for one year and was an executive with the Raiders for three years. E-mail him at agigantino@sfexaminer.com.

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