|HAYNESWORTH Never got going|
Haynesworth gone after just six games
Albert Haynesworth lasted 102 days in New England. Yesterday, the Patriots decided they had had enough of the defensive lineman.
Haynesworth arrived in July with baggage that included tantrums about defensive schemes, legal troubles, and questions about his character, but the Patriots were open to giving him another chance. They traded a 2013 fifth-round pick to the Washington Redskins and waited for Haynesworth to be the player he said he wanted to be.
But the experiment ended with a familiar result: Another team decided it just didn’t want to be bothered with the 30-year-old defensive tackle.
Haynesworth played in six games for the Patriots and had just three tackles. In his final game, Haynesworth may have played himself right out of a job.
Reports detailed Haynesworth grumbling with defensive line coach Pepper Johnson on the sideline during Sunday’s 24-20 loss to the New York Giants.
In the third quarter, Haynesworth was easily shoved to the side by Giants guard David Diehl, opening up a hole for Brandon Jacobs to secure a 10-yard touchdown run. It was the last time Haynesworth was on the field.
While no one from the Patriots was available for comment, a league source said Bill Belichick called Haynesworth yesterday and thanked him for his time but said that things weren’t working with the scheme.
On Monday, Belichick said Haynesworth’s absence in the last 24 minutes of the Giants game was a rotational situation and that his number never came up after the play.
“We had a lot of defensive linemen active, and so they played in different rotations,’’ Belichick said Monday. “Vince Wilfork is a guy obviously that we don’t want off the field, but the rest of those guys, they can’t all play. One guy plays for a while and then somebody else plays and they rotate.’’
According to the league source, Belichick did not discuss Haynesworth’s play against the Giants in the conversation they had yesterday.
Now the Patriots are moving on without Haynesworth. With defensive linemen Brandon Deaderick and Ron Brace off the physically unable to perform list, the line has depth, and Haynesworth may not be missed, as he never became a consistent performer.
A back injury kept Haynesworth out for back-to-back games against the Buffalo Bills and Oakland Raiders. When he returned, he continued to show the rust he referred to week after week.
Despite all of the negative reports surrounding Haynesworth, he wanted a fresh start with the Patriots.
Haynesworth declared he wanted to be more like the guy he was with the Tennessee Titans for the first seven years of his career, when his play earned him a $100 million contract with the Washington Redskins in 2009.
He didn’t want to be associated with his past - as the person who failed conditioning tests, complained about the Redskins changing to a 3-4 defense, or pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor assault charge.
In his first interview with the New England media Aug. 2, Haynesworth said playing for the Patriots was the opportunity he needed.
“It’s a chance to restore my name or whatever you want to say,’’ Haynesworth said at the time. “It’s a great chance to get back on the field and play football.’’
The Patriots defended him. Belichick deflected questions about Haynesworth’s character and said, ultimately, they were comfortable with bringing him on board.
“I think whenever you acquire a player, you look into whatever information you can gather about the player - you do it,’’ Belichick said in August. “We did it.’’
The coaches seemed willing to allow Haynesworth to establish a new reputation. Weeks after Haynesworth arrived in Foxborough, Johnson said he didn’t know much about the lineman.
“You hear rumors, of course,’’ Johnson said. “But before he came into the door, that’s when a lot of people were telling me, ‘Hey, he must be some guy that’s hard to deal with.’ But I’m born and raised in Detroit, so I don’t know if there are too many people that would be hard for me to deal with.
“I’m not a person who sits up and judges. The Albert Haynesworth that came through the door and shook my hand and started talking to me, that’s the person I’m dealing with. His past is his past.’’
After making his preseason debut in September against the Giants, Haynesworth said he couldn’t see himself with any other team. He even went as far as to say he would have given money back to the Redskins to get the opportunity with the Patriots.
“I know I can go out there and play for another team, but I feel like this is going to be the last place I want to play,’’ Haynesworth said. “If it doesn’t work out here, then I’m not going to play anywhere else.’’
It will be up to another team to give him that chance.