Over the summer of 2011 upon hearing the news that the Patriots had completed a trade for Albert Haynesworth, I questioned and mocked the undeserved optimism being heaped on the troubled defensive Pro-Bowler.
Today the New England Patriots announced that they have released the 6'6", 350 lb. lineman. Adding insult to injury, the release of the former All-Pro comes after two impactful losses to the Steelers and the Giants. It's a rare time to be releasing anyone from an already weak defense, let alone one of your teams' biggest offseason signings.
But early on there were concerns with Haynesworth's physical condition and commitment to his training and health, as well as his reportedly lousy attitude toward coaches, teammates and the game itself.
It turns out that all the rumors were true. Haynesworth has escaped significant criticism all season due to the media's preoccupation with the even more colossal failure known as Chad Ochocinco. Plus there was a redeeming part of the Haynesworth signing since he took a massive pay cut to coming to New England. I f he didn't prove himself worthy of the trade, it was no major financial disaster for the team. Ochocinco's salary is more than Wes Welker, Deion Branch and Aaron Hernandez combined, which adds a lot more salt the wound when it comes to his shortcomings.
So here we sit, the Pats staring down the barrel of a must-win game against the New York Jets on Sunday night, and addressing how this trade managed to fall apart in less than four months.
It seems that the final nail in the coffin for the blundering lineman was a verbal altercation between himself and Pepper Johnson, longtime defensive line coach for the Patriots. Reportedly, Haynesworth was chastised by Belichick after he blew a play in the third quarter of the Sunday, Nov. 6th game against the Giants. Haynesworth took the criticism from his head coach, but then things seemed to boil over when his performance was further disparaged by Johnson. The conversation escalated, and Haynesworth didn't play another snap in the game.
Whether the argument with Pepper Johnson was the catalyst for his release or whether it was merely part of a long list of strikes that they Patriots organization had already compiled against him, it's less than 48 hours later and Haynesworth's locker is cleared out for good.
So let's take an abridged trip through the short albeit interesting saga that was Albert Haynesworth's tenure as a New England Patriot.
- On July 28, 2011 the Washington Redskins traded Haynesworth to the Patriots for fifth round draft pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
- Throughout the preseason, Albert Haynesworth was largely absent from practice
- Haynesworth played limited minutes in six of the Patriots eight regular season games so far in 2011
- In those six games, he managed 2 solo tackles, 1 assist on a tackle, and 0.0 sacks
- On Nov. 8, 2011 the New England Patriots released Haynesworth
That's pretty much it. For all of the talking, debating, predicting, discussing and theorizing about how Haynesworth would perform for the Patriots defense, that is the sum total of his contributions in the red, white and blue uniform.
It's also another disconcerting reminder that the Patriots personnel, led by Bill Belichick, have failed again in their attempts to bring outside talent in to help out this defense. If it weren't for Andre Carter, all hope might be lost.
It was nice having you here, Albert. Take this time of unemployment to rest your body and mind, and...well, never mind. Just keep doing what you've been doing.