A rush to forget
Belichick not inclined to discuss Haynesworth’s disappointing performance
FOXBOROUGH - Bill Belichick has been in the NFL for 37 years, long enough to learn that all players are different, and they respond to different things. Publicly, Belichick says that he treats every player the same, and in some ways, that is true.
But privately, some players do get special treatment - not necessarily favorable, but not always the same as every other guy in the locker room.
Albert Haynesworth got special treatment, not unlike many veterans the Patriots have brought in during Belichick’s tenure.
A league source said yesterday, “Bill probably sat him down and said, ‘I know you have back issues, I know you need days off. But in return, I want 100 percent. I’ll let you play 15 to 20 snaps a game, but I want full effort.’
“That’s how Belichick works. He pulls no punches.’’
Despite that, the source said, the big defensive tackle acquired from the Redskins for a 2013 fifth-round draft pick “didn’t put in any effort on or off the field.’’
So on Tuesday, after Haynesworth had a particularly egregious series against the Giants and then took umbrage when line coach Pepper Johnson took him to task on the sideline, Belichick cut his losses and released Haynesworth after eight games, six of which he played in, with 132 snaps, just three tackles, and two quarterback hits.
Haynesworth signs with Buccaneers. C3
Despite that output, the Buccaneers claimed Haynesworth off waivers yesterday.
The source’s point that Haynesworth didn’t put in any effort was underscored yesterday when one player in the locker room said players have to produce in New England. When it was noted that receiver Chad Ochocinco hasn’t really produced, the player countered that Ochocinco is putting in the work and trying to improve.
When Belichick strode to the lectern yesterday, he opened his press conference by addressing the move to release Haynesworth, though he didn’t say much when pressed for details.
“I’ll just say on the Albert situation, I thought that both he and myself, speaking for the staff, we really tried to make it work,’’ Belichick said. “He had a few physical limitations to overcome when he got here, but I thought he really tried to do what we asked him to do.
“We tried to work with him, and in the end, it just obviously didn’t work out. The best thing we can do is just move on.’’
After his opening statement, which also included a mention of the team’s move to place safety Josh Barrett on season-ending injured reserve and a quick overview of the Jets, a reporter brought up Haynesworth’s name.
But he was quickly interrupted.
“That’s really all I have to say about it,’’ said Belichick. “We’ll talk about the guys that are here. We’ll move on to the Jets.’’
Asked if it was the physical limitations - Haynesworth has long had knee problems and missed two games as well as several practices with back issues - that hampered Haynesworth, Belichick said, “No. He missed some time early in camp. In the end, that all worked out.’’
Asked if the gamble to acquire Haynesworth was worth it, Belichick said, “It’s all done with. It’s on to the Jets.’’
One final question specific to Haynesworth came up, and that was whether the strong play of Kyle Love made it easier to send Haynesworth packing. Belichick said it didn’t play a role.
Translation: They wanted him gone, whether there was someone able to fill his spot or not.
The Patriots ended up not being impressed with Haynesworth, and neither was Jets coach Rex Ryan. On his conference call with local media yesterday, Ryan was asked if he was surprised that New England released the veteran.
“Nah. To be honest with you, our concern was not Albert Haynesworth,’’ Ryan said. “Whether you believe it or not, they have a lot of big guys.
“Vince Wilfork is the bell cow in that front. I’d say Andre Carter’s a pickup they had; I think he’s playing well. Getting [Jerod] Mayo back - he never played in our first game. He’s a tremendous player.
“But Haynesworth wasn’t like specifically we had to know where he was at. He’s just a big guy. But they have a lot of good ones.’’
“I think the Kyle Love kid is underrated and then they have the big kid from Boston College [Ron Brace] back, so I guess Haynesworth does have some good ability and things like that, but he wasn’t a guy that we were absolutely concerned with.’’
Before Haynesworth signed his mega-deal with the Redskins in 2009, Tampa Bay was heavily pursuing him. The Bucs had to place tackle Gerald McCoy on injured reserve recently with a torn biceps, so they are in need of help.
According to the team’s Twitter account, Tampa Bay general manager Mark Dominik watched film of all of Haynesworth’s plays with the Patriots twice and saw “a player that can still be disruptive.’’
Shalise Manza Young can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.