By Ryan O’Halloran
Item: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers released defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth on Wednesday.
Knee-jerk reaction: So what?
On second thought: I don’t bet on sports in general or on the NFL in particular, but it is conceivable to think Big Al has played his last regular season game.
Three teams – the Redskins, New England and Buccaneers – have either traded or given up on him since last July.
Haynesworth will be 31 in June and aside from three years of his career – aiming for a college scholarship (he was), trying to be a first-round pick (he was) and cashing in during free agency (he did) – his reputation isn’t great. There won’t be another “big” contract in his future.
The 2010 season with the Redskins was an abject disaster and both parties are to be blamed. Haynesworth was eventually sent him home for the final four games.
Albert had 22 tackles in 13 games this past year for the Patriots/Tampa Bay.
Bill Belichick took a minimal risk post-lockout and traded a late-round draft pick to the Redskins for Haynesworth. The thought around the league was, if anything could motivate the Big Fella, it would be New England and a chance to play for a championship and show enough to sucker one more team into a multi-year contract.
That didn’t work.
Next was being claimed by a desperate Tampa Bay team, whose coach, Raheem Morris, was also the defensive coordinator and needed to improve a woeful run defense. The Buccaneers went 0-7 with Albert on the roster. Morris was fired and ended up with the Redskins.
What a waste.
I remember watching Haynesworth on DVR during his two years with the Redskins and at times, he simply could not be blocked. He was a one-man wrecking crew in the 2010 win at Chicago. But the consistency wasn’t there.
Now his career may be over. Some team could offer him a veteran minimum deal, but does Haynesworth want to play?
A player whose last two years are parallel to Haynesworth is Donovan McNabb – traded by Philadelphia, traded by Washington and cut by Minnesota. Players of that stature who are discarded three times in less than two years often go home for good.
Contact O’Halloran at firstname.lastname@example.org