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A medical miracle

Perhaps Washington Redskins defensive end Albert Haynesworth visited Lourdes between yesterday and today. Or perhaps he took one more look at Mike Shanahan's Thousand-Yard Stare O' Death and decided that, you know, the guy was serious after all.

In any case, Haynesworth's ouchy knee magically was cured this morning when he showed up and breezed through the conditioning test Shanahan was requiring that he pass before being allowed to practice. The standoff is over.

And, from Shanahan's standpoint, that's a very good thing. As silly as the whole affair might seem, he simply could not afford to back down to his rebellious defensive end. If he had, he'd have lost his new team before ever coaching it in a game.

It's obvious that Shanahan is trying to change the culture of the Resdkins' organization, and this was an important step in doing so. It's less obvious, but perhaps worth noting, that making himself look unreasonable and petty to some extent might have been calculated; by turning Haynesworth into a "victim," he maybe helped return him to the good graces of the Redskins' locker room, which frankly was fed up with his petulance.

Or maybe I'm giving Shanahan way too much credit. We do tend toward that where NFL coaches are concerned.

Ben Smith's blog.