Newsday's Bob Glauber goes the extra yard for the inside scoop on the NFL.
Bulluck on Haynesworth: Play him or trade him
Giants linebacker Keith Bulluck, a former teammate of Albert Haynesworth, has been paying close attention to the Haynesworth saga in Washington, where the defensive tackle continues to be at odds with head coach Mike Shanahan and has been the source of trade speculation.
And Bulluck has some very strong feelings about how the situation has unfolded, and how it should be resolved. Bottom line: If Bulluck were in Shanahan's position, here's what he'd do:
"If I'm Mike Shanahan, I either play him or I trade him," said Bulluck, who was Haynesworth's teammate in Tennessee from 2002-08. "I got my point across as far as not playing him in the preseason, but now it's the regular season. It's time to get things going. You either either play him or you trade him, because if you’re not going to play him, what’s the point of having him there being a distraction? It benefits his team more now at this point to play him, but I’m not a coach."
Bulluck, who said he is in regular contact with Haynesworth, felt Shanahan was within his rights to make a statement by not playing Haynesworth during the preseason until he passed his conditioning test. But enough is enough already.
"The whole camp thing was cool, but to me it’s a little 'b.s.,'" he said. "He had to make his conditioning test, and he finally made it. As a coach you want to show, 'This is my team,' but after a while with a player like Albert, you're going to play him or not. I just think the whole thing is stupid. I know he’s a great player. He’s a great teammate. Regardless of the decisions he made this off-season, the off-season’s over. You know he wants to play football."
I asked Bulluck if he would like to see Haynesworth traded, and he replied, "I just want him to be happy. At the end of the day, I played with the guy for 6-7 years. I just want him to be able to go out there and play football the way he can and be the dominating player that I know he is."
Bulluck said he sympathized with Haynesworth's predicament about not wanting to play nose tackle in defensive coordinator Jim Haslett's 3-4 alignment. But he believes the Redskins can do some things schematically to make it work.
"I understand where he’s coming from," Bulluck said. "When he signed there, they ran a 4-3, but now they’re running a 3-4. There are ways to handle everything, but I feel his griping and I feel where his organization is coming from. It’s just one of those things."
Bulluck said Haynesworth is trying to deal with the situation as best he can. "He's just going through it, and he stays upbeat as much as possible," Bulluck said. "At the end of the day, there are bigger things in life than this. He’s definitely working to do what he needs to do to help his team and be a contributor."