The Albert Haynesworth experiment has ended in New England.
Four months after trading for the mercurial defensive tackle, the New England Patriots cut Haynesworth on Tuesday after eight games in which he was largely ineffective on the league's last-ranked defense. The Boston Herald first reported the news.
Haynesworth got into a heated discussion with defensive line coach Pepper Johnson during the third quarter of Sunday's loss to the New York Giants. He didn't return to the game following the incident.
Haynesworth was all smiles in the preseason, proclaiming that he was having fun playing football again. Some took it as a sign that his disastrous two years in Washington, best remembered for his failed conditioning tests and loafing on plays, would be a hiccup in between All-Pro performances in Tennessee and New England. Instead, the change of scenery didn't do anything for Haynesworth's play. When he was in, his sheer girth managed to clog running lanes, but he was hardly the dominant run-stuffer who commanded a $100 million contract in the opening minutes of the 2009 free-agency period. In six games, he had two tackles. Boston.com's Extra Points picked out three consecutive examples of Haynesworth failing to move his feet on plays during the Giants game.
New England's risk was minimal. The team traded a fifth-round pick for Haynesworth in July and will only owe him $700,000 if no team picks him up before 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday. As Yahoo! Sports' Jason Cole reported in August, Haynesworth would have been owed $1 million if he played 20 percent of the team's snaps and an additional $3 million if he played in 65 percent of defensive plays.
Back in July, when the 2011 NFL season still held the possibility of a career rebirth, Haynesworth vowed that the Patriots would be his final team. "If God forbid, I got cut from this team, I know I could go out there and play for another team," he said on Sept. 3. "But, I feel like this is going to be the last place I'm going to play. If it doesn't work out here, I'm not going to play anywhere else."
Even if he has a predictable change of heart, will any team want to give him a chance?
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- Albert Haynesworth