|It only took eight games for New England to give up on Haynesworth. (Getty Images)|
Posted by Ryan Wilson
The Patriots acquired Chad Ochocinco and Albert Haynesworth before the season, both for late-round draft picks. At the time it appeared to be another case of the rich getting richer; four years earlier, New England took Randy Moss off the Raiders' hands for a fourth-rounder and he went on to have one of the best pass-catching seasons in NFL history.
There will be no such story of redemption for Haynesworth, at least not in Foxboro: the Patriots released him Tuesday, his agent confirmed.
"He was told it just wasn't a good fit and they wanted to end it now," a source told NFL Network's Steve Wyche.
Haynesworth's career has been a roller coaster of dominating performances punctuated by questionable work habits, and marred by behavioral issues and off-field incidents.
In August, he stood trial on sex-abuse charges (he pleaded no contest), and is probably best known for stomping on then-Cowboys center Andre Gurode's head during a 2006 game.
Days before the start of the regular season, Haynesworth called New England a "career-saving place for me to come … I had no idea it would be like this, but it's unbelievable, and I wish I took two years ago and came here." This was after he had signed a $100 million deal with the Redskins prior the 2009 season (including $41 million in guarantees), and proceeded to do absolutely nothing for two years before ending up in Foxboro for his next last chance.
Now, eight games into the 2011 season, the Pats have seen enough of Haynesworth to know he's not worth the trouble. He played sparingly in Sunday's loss to the Giants, and didn't see the field for most of the third quarter and all of the fourth quarter.
The Boston Herald reported Tuesday that Haynesorth's playing time had nothing to do with a heated sideline conversation with a Pats assistant. Instead, head coach Bill Belichick called it "rotation-related."
Yet, sources described an animated conversation between defensive line coach Pepper Johnson and Haynesworth following that play, with shouting back and forth. It’s not clear what was said, but Haynesworth was not on the field afterward.This is the latest personnel misstep to befall the Patriots and Belichick, and it comes on a unit in dire need of playmakers. The secondary is in shambles after Belichick released Deon Butler, Brandon Meriweather and Leigh Bodden and replaced them with waiver-wire signings -- players none of the 31 other teams wanted.
On the play, Haynesworth stood up and attempted a swim move inside on Jacobs’ run, which took him out of the hole and allowed guard David Diehl to block him effectively. Haynesworth realized his error and owned up to it to Belichick.
Yet, when Johnson approached, it grew heated, sources said. Similar conversations happen on sidelines throughout the NFL. The fact that it was Haynesworth, who drew a holding penalty earlier in the game, created attention.
As for Haynesworth, he's still talented enough to find work elsewhere. Before he was traded to New England, there were reports that the Eagles were interested in his services. Philadelphia defensive line coach Jim Washburn was with Haynesworth in Tennessee. Before the season, sources told Yahoo.com that Washburn was "convinced he can get the most out of Haynesworth," and that "he wants him badly."
Now he may get that chance.
First, he'll have to clear waivers. Teams will have 24 hours to claim him, and Haynesworth would be owed roughly $750,000 of his $1.5 million base salary if claimed by Wednesday afternoon.
Haynesworth restructured his contract to come to the Patriots but was due $7 million next season.
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