New England Patriots Think Haynesworth Will Fit In
Randy Moss and Corey Dillon were malcontents when they joined the New England Patriots. Rodney Harrison arrived with a reputation as a dirty, washed-up player.
All of them fit in very well with their new team.
Now Albert Haynesworth is coming and "The Patriot Way" will be tested once again.
After a season-long feud with Washington coach Mike Shanahan, the 335-pound defensive tackle was traded by the Redskins on Thursday for a fifth-round draft choice in 2013.
The deal was confirmed by a person familiar with it who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because neither team had announced it.
Two defensive linemen who could be starting alongside Haynesworth in the 3-4 defense - the alignment that helped fuel Haynesworth's discontent with Shanahan after he signed a $100 million, seven-year contract in 2009- think he'll adjust to the players' unselfish approach.
"You can see that Albert wasn't really happy in his situation," end Ty Warren said Thursday after the Patriots' first practice of training camp, but "all you see is what goes on (from) the outside and sometimes that's only half of the truth. So, I don't think it's going to be a problem, with the structure of this locker room, the guys that's in this locker room."
Vince Wilfork, primarily a nose tackle, saw the most action at defensive end of his seven-year career last season. Playing next to Haynesworth, the 325-pounder likely would spend even more time on the outside if that's what coach Bill Belichick wants.
"It's always team first. That's `The Patriot Way.' If you can't put the team first you won't be here," Wilfork said.
Any new Patriots player with a checkered past, on or off the field, "will see how we do things around here, point blank," he added. "We had guys come through here with a rap sheet and (people) say, `he can't be handled.' `This guy can't do this,' and you know what, it worked out fine for us. So, I don't think it will be a big problem."
Moss, eager to leave the Oakland Raiders, didn't go all out in 2006 and was traded to the Patriots. He caught 98 passes with an NFL-record 23 touchdown catches in 2007 and didn't cause trouble until last season, when he was traded.
Dillon, who complained about being stuck with a consistently bad Cincinnati Bengals team, was picked up in March 2004 after being cut and was a major contributor that year to the Patriots' championship. He rushed for a team-record 1,635 yards and ran 75 yards for one touchdown in a 24-21 Super Bowl win over the Philadelphia Eagles.
And Harrison became a hard-hitting leader, showing he was far from finished.
"Every case is different," Warren said. "All the guys that I've seen make that transition, from the Rodneys, just right on down the line. Everybody's had a smooth transition."
Last year, Haynesworth missed offseason workouts because he wanted a trade to avoid playing in Shanahan's 3-4 defense. He didn't practice until he passed the conditioning test on the 10th day of training camp. Then, he was suspended for the final four games of the season for "conduct detrimental to the club."
He's also had several legal troubles. He is scheduled for trial on Aug. 23 on a misdemeanor sexual abuse charge, stemming from an accusation that he fondled a waitress at a hotel bar in Washington. He has pleaded not guilty.
"When we get on this field, regardless of what people say about you, it's `can you perform?"' Wilfork said. "It's `can you put it together?"'
Haynesworth has the talent to do that. He had 8 1-2 sacks in 2008, his last season with Tennessee, which took him with the 15th draft pick in 2002.
With Haynesworth and Wilfork on the field at the same time, teams might have to assign four blockers to them. That would be a big advantage for the Patriots pass rush, which was mediocre last season.
So, what would it mean to play with him?
"It's huge. He's got some freakish ability," Warren said. "I've seen him on film and he's the real deal."
This program aired on July 29, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.