At long last, Albert Haynesworth met with reporters today, and despite his history of churlish behavior, which would lead you to believe he wouldn’t be the best interview, he was engaging and even funny at times during the eight-minute Q&A session.
Here’s the full text of his interview:
How’s it been so far?
It’s been alright. I’m still getting my legs back. It’s been a long time since I’ve been on the field, so still trying to get that feel out there.
Do you see this as a fresh start?
Yeah, of course. It’s a new team, it’s a great organization, I’ve been a fan of this team for a long time – you know, other than when [I was] playing them, but I always liked the Patriots.
Will there be an adjustment to this defensive system coming from Washington’s?
It’s somewhat of adjustment from what I was doing the last two years but I’m kind of getting back to things I used to normally used to do so I just gotta get my legs wet again and then I’ll be ok.
Have they discussed your role on the team?
I don’t know, just to kill the quarterback.
How did you find out about trade?
I woke up to a text, 630 from my agent that we’re going to New England.
Why have you been a fan of Patriots
I always liked coach Belichick, the way he did things, the way the team performed, I came to games when I was in the pros – I came, I think it was here when they played the AFC championship I want to say it was San Diego, and I was sitting up in the stands freezing my butt off and watched them play. So I’ve always been a fan of this team.
Did you talk to the Pats as a free agent two years ago?
Yeah, I talked to my agent about it and we loved the fact [they were interested] but they didn’t think, the numbers we were trying to get out there, that they would have it.
Do you consider this a fresh start?
I do. It’s a great chance, great chance to be on a great team, it’s a great chance I guess to restore my name or whatever you want to say and it’s a great chance to get on the field and play football.
Did you have conversations with Bill Belichick or the team about your past issues?
Everything is in the past. I’m leaving all that stuff back in Washington and right now I’m just concentrating on being a great football player for this organization.
What do you think of the prospect of lining up next to Vince Wilfork?
That’s going to be scary. It’s going to be scary for other teams.
Did you talk to Tom Brady about buying him dinner [Haynesworth’s preseason hit on Brady in 2009 caused three cracked ribs the QB dealt with all season]?
You know what, the first thing – I said ‘hey Tom, what’s up.’ He was like, ‘hey – you’re not going to be hitting me anymore,’ so it was kind of funny.
Did you know anybody on the team before getting here?
I went to the Pro Bowl with Vince and the funny thing is, when we were at the Pro Bowl I said, ‘man, what if we were on the same team?’ He said, ‘aw, dude, that would be crazy.’ But look, two, three years later, here we are.
“Restore your name,” what does that mean?
It just uh, to show that Albert Haynesworth can still play football and you know, that’s how I got a name, I guess, my family gave it to me but that’s what everybody knows me as is Haynesworth, so [I want to] show everybody that I can still play football.
Are you in good shape?
Yeah, yeah, I feel alright, I’m just a little bit rusty. Last year I didn’t play hardly any and now I’m getting a role where I get to play so I definitely have to get my legs under me.
Are you willing to play in a 3-4?
I’m willing to attack the quarterback and kill the running back and knock everything back. (two gap?) I don’t care what it is – as long as whatever gap the ball’s in, that’s the gap I want to be in.
There’s a criticism of you that you’re inconsistent – fair?
I don’t expect to make every play and I hope that any coach or anything is not going to expect I’m going to make any play, so what you guys say is what yall say but I listen to the coaches and what they say.
Would you say you’re a high-motor player?
High motor? High-motor player is like Kyle Vanden Bosch, you know, guys that just run around non-stop like they’ve got batteries up their behind, but that’s not me.
Why did you respect Belichick?
That…from being outside, I don’t know, just the way he handled the team and everything and now being on the inside he’s very detail-oriented and demands perfection every time. I’ve been on some really good teams and played with some great players but I’ve never been in a situation where it’s like perfection every time, and not for a person but for the team.
Will that motivate you?
It’s going to be awesome. I enjoy being here. It’s a refresher and I love it and it kind of revived me, you know, playing football again.
Most surprising thing about this process?
Just being here, the way everybody takes me in like I’m part of the family already. I met with coach and we had a great conversation and I met with Mr. Kraft and we had a great conversation, and Pep…everything’s been great. The players, some of the fans I ran into, you know, everybody here has been awesome.
Pleasantly surprised by the reaction of fans?
My best friend, he lives here, I’ve been up here a bunch of times secretly and I knew how people were here and I remember that one time, I guess I was in [Washington] I hit Tom, I guess it was in the preseason game when I landed on his shoulder or something, I got a lot of angry texts from ‘508’ numbers up here, so I know everybody was cool and they love their team.
How do you go anywhere secretly at your size?
I’ve got a wig and some shades…nah, just joking.
Who’s to blame for you not playing in Washington?
Well, you know, it was just the way they had it, you know, the way they wanted to play it. No deal to me, I knew I could stil play so I got a chance to come here and play football. They’re going to put me on the field here and they’re going to let me play and it’s going to be fun.
Do you have something to prove?
Oh, no, forget about that stuff, it’s all in the past. It’s all about now, re-writing my name as Albert Haynesworth the Patriot.
Do you take any responsibility for what happened with the Redskins?
Well I mean it’s all got my name on it, it’s just whatever, but I’m just going to leave all that in the past, leave that in Washington and have a fresh, new, clean start here in New England.
Did you pay for the AFCCG tickets?
You know, Rodney Harrison gave them to me. I might still owe him something. I called him like a couple days before to see if I could get them. (he had you up top?) Yeah, I know, that’s not right, right? But they said the family section was kind of up there. I think we were…I can’t remember where we were sitting, but we watched the team come in and they were right below us as they came in for the start of the game. I can’t tell you where that is, but it was up there. I still got a good seat.
Put stock in idea that teams shouldn’t have you on their team because of your off-field issues?
I don’t have to worry about that anymore because I’m a New England Patriot.