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Albert Haynesworth Suspended: Notice This Kind Of Thing Doesn't Happen In Atlanta These Days?

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The Washington Redskins have suspended oafish DT Albert Haynesworth without pay for the final four games of the 2010 season. He's refused to play in the team's 3-4 set, grumbling about his role on the defense since the offseason, when he also showed up impressively out of shape. Last night he gave a volcanic interview on DC sports radio, calling team personnel cowards who don't care about winning.

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Now's as good a time as any to link to this article from last week's Sports Illustrated on Kansas City Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli and his associates, which include Atlanta Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff. In it both Pioli and Dimitroff strive to define just what it is they look for when putting together the pieces of a team. A key quote:

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↵↵"I think Scott and I both believe it's much easier-much easier-to build a team when you're throwing character issues out the window," says Dimitroff, who rose from volunteer scout with the Browns to New England's director of college scouting before becoming the Falcons' G.M. in January 2008. "There are some very, very talented players coming into this league through the draft, through free agency, and the easy thing to do is to bring in the most talented players whether they fit or don't fit. You can win that way, no question about it."    

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Some Falcons fans express disappointment when the team doesn't jump at the chance to sign big-name free agents like Haynesworth, Randy Moss, or Terrell Owens. And it's not easy to get excited about the team's insistence on drafting all-academic student-athletes and college captains over NFL Combine studs. But every Falcons fan should be able to appreciate how far this collection of players stays out of the media spotlight, especially after what we went through just a few years ago.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.