I covered Phillip Daniels for three seasons when he was with the Chicago Bears from 2001 to 2003.
He’s one of the nicest players you’re going to come across, and he was constantly available for media, which made it easier to do your job. In good times and tough times – and there were both – Daniels stood there and took questions.
He never said anything that grabbed headlines, and he was always about the team. You can sense that at 37 it’s still only about the team for Daniels, a defensive end for the Washington Redskins. And you can sense the deep frustration he has for teammate Albert Haynesworth, who was inactive Sunday. Daniels calls him a friend but as John Keim of the Washington Examiner details, he’s at wit’s end with Haynesworth.
“I’ve been through 15 seasons and I ain’t won (anything),” Daniels said, before pausing for a long pause. “So what I’m saying is, if I can come out and do this, don’t tell me you can’t do it. … I want every guy on this team to do well. If you ain’t all in, you don’t need to be here. I’m tired of going through season after season where we lose games we should win, guys not doing the right thing, guys not putting the effort in. I’m tired of that.
“The Redskins, we deserve better as a team and as fans. We got a coach in here (Mike Shanahan) now that’s proven himself. He can win Super Bowls. Guys have to believe in what he’s doing. If you don’t believe in what he’s doing, then you don’t need to be here. And I’m speaking for everybody now. We’ll get through this man. I’m just upset that I spent 15 years of my career and I ain’t won (anything).
“I’m just a guy. I’ll tell you the truth and I’ll tell you how it is. I’m not going to hide behind anything. I’ll tell you how I feel. I would love for things to work out with him. You know how much he can help us. If he put everything he had into football. I’m talking about the workout part of it, the weight room, the studying, he had into football. He would no doubt be the NFL player of the year.”
“When I come to the locker room on game day I expect guys to be ready to go and play. As a D-linemen, when you lose one of your guys it’s tough on us. You have to scramble and guys have to go to those positions and fill in. I just hate that it happened.”
Daniels said that everyone has spoken to Haynesworth, and acknowledged what he’s experiencing is what players in Tennessee told him to be on the lookout for with the free-agent prize from 2009.
Dids Haynesworth let down the team?
“He let himself down,” Daniels said. “But in the process of letting yourself down, you let your teammates down in a lot of ways. I don’t think Albert ever bought into a 3-4. He spoke at times that he was good and he wanted to come in and do some things. He came in and everything was going so smoothly. Then the practice stuff, that kind of stuff. You’ve got to practice. That’s the problem with this team for a while now; guys not wanting to practice; guys not wanting to put forth the effort to help this team be better. If you don’t practice, you don’t play well. That’s been proven.
“Really, truly, I think everyone on this team is tired of talking about it. It drags you down. It doesn’t do anything for us in football. I’ll always care about Albert because he’s a guy I’ve been around and talked to and had good conversations with. But when you come to football it’s a business and that’s the side he has to understand.”
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune