Albert Haynesworth was a great defensive tackle during his first seven years in the NFL, particularly his final two seasons in Tennessee, 2007 and 2008, when he was selected to the Pro Bowl.
Haynesworth’s play on the Titans D-line earned him a seven-year, $100 million contract from the Washington Redskins in 2009 that included a reported $41 million guaranteed. But then after one lackluster season with Washington — during which he beefed with defensive coordinator Greg Blache — a strange thing happened: Haynesworth just kind of disappeared.
The Patriots traded next to nothing for Haynesworth in 2011 before releasing him midway through the season, with just two tackles to his name. The Bucs then picked him up off waivers — a last-ditch effort at getting something, anything out of the maligned former star — and then released him after the season was over. Haynesworth hasn’t played since.
That $100 million contract Haynesworth signed has been regarded by many as one of the worst in NFL history, and his decline was as rapid as it was stunning. But according to one former teammate, Haynesworth’s fall from grace may not have been an accident at all, but rather, a fraudulent ploy on the part of a guy who felt no need to earn his paycheck.
Former Redskins tight end Chris Cooley got to talking about Haynesworth on his radio show on ESPN 980 in Washington, D.C., last week and, via DC Sports Bog, Cooley accused Haynesworth of trying to get released once his contract had been signed.
“His goal was to come here, make a large signing bonus, and then get released and not have to do any of the work,” Cooley said. “He didn’t care about the back end of that contract, he didn’t care about making all of that money. His idea was, you paid me for what I did in the past, and my goal is to be released as soon as possible and basically take $33 million from you for absolutely nothing.”
Cooley said that Haynesworth’s intentions were no secret in the locker room, either.
“He also indicated to many players on the team that his new goal was to get released as soon as possible, sign another maybe $10, 12 million contract — that’s verbatim — go somewhere, play for a year and probably get released, and keep that money too,” Cooley said.
“I mean, if it was a player on this team currently, I would not discuss this on the air. But being the player that he was, and the guy that he was around here, this was open [knowledge] among many players in this locker room: that his goal was basically to take money.”
Cooley then closed by saying the Redskins’ signing of Haynesworth was a “terrible decision” and called Haynesworth a “horrible person” — which is probably not a stretch when talking about a guy who stomped on another player’s face during a game.
But what do you think? Was Haynesworth within his rights to take his guaranteed dough and run — especially given the dangers that the game of football present — or did he owe it to the Redskins to earn the money they paid him?