Should the Oakland Raiders Sign Albert Haynesworth?
Justin Smith – Aug 7, 2012
Due to the inability of Travis Ivey to get into shape and Richard Seymour being banged up at training camp, the Raiders may need someone living large in the middle when they slip into the occasional 3-4 scheme on defense.
Tommy Kelly isn’t a true nose, and neither is Seymour. Desmond Bryant is a little light, and Dominique Hamilton isn’t exactly Casey Hampton; or even Hampton the Pig. Jamie Cumbie is too inexperienced, and Christo Bilukidi too raw and perhaps small to man the middle.
This leaves the Raiders with a real concern at nose tackle for those times they want to excercise some scheme-versatility with a 3-4 alignment. And hey, it’s the Raiders, so even though they haven’t had much of a criminal element and have been easily surpassed by the Bengals and Lions as the NFL’s criminal haven, every fat guy that ever strapped on a uniform has been linked to them because hey, the Raiders will sign anybody.
Enter the Albert Haynesworth chatter; yes, that Albert Haynesworth. While not a criminal - at least not a convicted one – Haynesworth has been nothing but a headache on the field his entire NFL career.
Sure in 2007 and 2008 he was a dominant force. That is two seasons out of a decade-long career, or about 20% of the time he’s been dominant – or even, really, above average.
The rest of his career he’s shown flashes of brilliance; along with even more flashes of idiocy.
In 2006, as you may recall, Haynesworth stomped on Dallas Cowboys’ center Andre Gurode not once, but twice. This is after he allegedly intentionally removed Gurode’s helmet. Gurode ended up with 30 stitches above and around his right eye, and was lucky his vision wasn’t impaired.
Haynesworth apologized and made it clear this wasn’t who he is.
No, the true Albert Haynesworth would never do something like that. Nor would he default on bank loans, be arrested more than three times for traffic incidents, one which he was proven to be driving his Ferrari in excess of 100 mph and hit another vehicle, which then struck a concrete barrier, partially paralyzing the driver inside.
To his credit, he was convicted of none of these traffic violations, but he seems to be around bad situations an awful lot.
In 2011, he allegedly punched another driver during a traffic altercation. This guy should not be driving a car, it would seem.
Back to the field. In 2009 Haynesworth signed a ludicrous $100 million 7 year free agent deal that, with incentives, could have seen him earn an astronomical total of $115 million had he met all his incentives.
In his first year with the Redskins he played well but certainly not up to his contract. He gained weight, took plays off, and criticized the coaching staff, scheme, and organization.
Mike Shanahan finally had enough by 2010 and things got really interesting. Shanahan, a bit of a spoiled petulant child himself, wanted to make it clear who was boss from day one. He called Haynesworth out to the media, to his teammates, emasculated him in public, and challenged him to step up or step off.
Haynesworth responded by crying to the media that he was being treated unfairly - all while failing multiple physicals before finally getting in shape and being ready to play.
But did he? Not so much. Shanahan, citing “conduct detrimental to the team” suspended the $100 million man for much of the season.
Haynesworth’s lack of work ethic, excessive weight gain, apathy toward the game, disrespect of his teammates and coaching staff, and various other caustic personality traits make him a volatile risk as a player. But it’s the following that leads one to believe that Haynesworth was a massive talent with an even bigger ego and lack of social wherewithal.
When asked if the Eagles would bring him in for a tryout, his former line coach – and, apparently, only friend in the NFL – Jim Washburn responded thusly “No, I don’t think so. He calls me every day, telling me ‘hey Wash, it’s your big black son’. But I think he’s finished. His back’s degenerative.”
Okay. A degenerative back condition from a guy who’s always unhealthy. Not good. But this statement is even more telling, even if Haynesworth were healthy:
“Everybody hated him, but I liked him.” Washburn said.
All accounts indicate that is a fair and true statement. Haynesworth is unliked by NFL personnel men, front offices, media, coaches, and fellow players.
So while the Raiders may be a bit thin at nose, they have enough parts with Kelly, Seymour, Bryant and Bilikudi that they don’t have to sacrifice their comraderie or sell their souls to bring in a washed up, unliked, overpaid player who’s had success for 20% of his career.
If you think the Raiders should sign Haynesworth, I’ve got some swamp land in Florida for sale as well...
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