The Washington Commanders are stepping into a new era after Josh Harris' $6 billion bid to purchase the franchise was unanimously approved by NFL owners last month, but the scars from the previous regime remain and could take a while to heal. Dan Snyder's tenure as owner was filled with controversy off the field and included poor play from the team on it -- as they went just 164-220 in his 24 years as owner and had a mere two playoff wins over that stretch.
While Snyder,after an investigation concluded he engaged in sexual harassment and underreported the team's revenue to avoid its revenue-sharing obligations, has often been vilified for bringing what was once a storied franchise in the NFL down to irrelevancy, former Washington defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth came to his defense, noting that he did care about the franchise.
"We were like super cool," Haynesworth, who signed a $100 million deal with the franchise back in 2009, told OutKick's Hot Mic. "Everybody's like, 'Dan's an a-hole, whatever, but he's not. Everyone's like, 'He ruined Washington, D.C. He ruined the [Commanders]. This guy, who he was ... he loved [Washington]. He's like watching every practice, he's doing all that stuff."
However, Haynesworth did admit that Snyder did not have the football knowledge to effectively run the team.
"The thing about Dan, he didn't know a ton about football like that," he continued. "I call him, and I'd say this to his face, he's a billionaire fantasy footballer. So imagine you have billions of dollars and you own a football team, and when you see all of the NFL, you're like, 'Bro, that's a great player. I'm gonna get him, I'm gonna get him. I'm gonna get him.' ... You've got to have the dynamics between the team, the coaches. You've got to have the right coaches to be able to put that together. You can't just go do that. You can get a few players and stuff like that, but you also have to build within the draft, some trades, and just getting those guys and getting that dynamic together."
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This is a similar sentiment to what former Washington head coach Jay Gruden had to say about Snyder leading up to the sale. He said that Snyder wouldwithout watching film or attending scouting meetings.
On top of his comments about Snyder, Haynesworth also put former Washington players DeAngelo Hall, Clint Portis, and Chris Cooley in the crosshairs for how they acted throughout their tenures as some of the key figures on the team.
"In that locker room, it was a joke. I got a couple guys that I still talk to, but most of them are trash," he said. "They'd be talking coming out of the tunnel what club they were going to and they got a table. ... And it's the ones that be like chirping, talking about me, you know? I'm just like, 'Dude, I can call you out about all the stuff that you guys were doing, so don't even like bring my name into it.'
"Yeah, it's all of them like DeAngelo Hall, Clint Portis, [Chris] Cooley. They're a joke. They belong in Washington because they are what the team represented back then, which is trash."
Clearly, the wounds run deep in Washington as things ran into disarray throughout Snyder's tenure. Fortunately for the fanbase, there is promise of a more optimistic future and that the controversies and bad blood that boiled over the past two-plus decades can remain in the past.