The Fall of Albert Haynesworth
Now, there is one more thought to add to this list: unemployed.
Haynesworth was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Wednesday, ending a tumultuous three years during which he bounced between three different teams. He was a non-factor for the majority of the 2011 season, a shadow of the monstrous player he was just a few years ago. Amazingly enough, Haynesworth was the Sporting News' Defensive Player of the Year in 2008.
Sadly, it's clear that hubris got the better of Haynesworth's talents.
Following his incredible 2008 season with the Titans, Haynesworth became a free agent and signed a seven-year, $100 million contract with the Washington Redskins. Fans always have expectations in Washington, and the acquisition of Haynesworth shot them through the roof. This move, however, was doomed from the start.
Haynesworth showed up to camp out of shape and lazy that season. He refused to do many of the things that coaches asked of him, and publicly complained about the Redskins' defensive scheme. Everything went downhill from there, as Haynesworth failed to become the difference-maker he was expected to be. In 2011, he was traded to the Patriots, who later cut him, as did the Buccaneers.
Now Haynesworth stands at a crossroads in his career. The man's talent when focused is undeniable; one only needs to look at his time with the Titans to see what he is capable of when he goes all in. The question is, will he ever go all in? His behavior that started with the Redskins will certainly not endear him to any teams across the league.
Haynesworth could certainly try to reinvent himself going into the next NFL season. He could show a commitment to training, interview well with a number of teams, and regain the fire that made him the league's most feared defensive tackle during his heyday. The damage he’s done so far may be irreparable, though.
Despite being a recurring theme in all sports, it’s a shame to see a promising career go down in flames. If Haynesworth doesn't get his act together, what was once a legitimate claim as the best defensive player of the decade will be quickly forgotten.