Albert Haynesworth’s name comes up often in discussions about where Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh will land in free agency. Suh has a history of on-field transgressions, just as Haynesworth did before he signed a seven-year, $100 million contract with the Redskins in 2009.
But Haynesworth, who clashed with coach Mike Shanahan from the start and became one of the biggest busts in Redskins history, says his situation wasn’t the same as Suh’s.
“I think honestly the difference between me and him is, like, I didn’t want to leave the Titans,” Haynesworth said Wednedsay on ‘The Greg Pogue and Big Joe Show’ in Nashville. “I wanted to stay because I was very close with [Titans defensive line coach Jim Washburn] and it was just fun. To play for him and to have the guys that I played with. The Titans really, upper management, really just forced the hand of me moving. I think with Suh, I don’t think he really wants to stay, and I don’t think the Lions really want to keep him either.”
Haynesworth’s advice to Suh before he decides where he’ll play next season is to carefully research his suitors.
“He needs to really study, like, who he’s thinking about going to,” Haynesworth said. “Also, you need to kind of look at the track record of the coach, see if he’s going to stay, talk to some former players, just to get the inside scoop about it, and make sure that they’re playing the exact same defense as Detroit.”
Haynesworth, see, thought he’d done his homework before he signed with Washington. He says he was under the impression that he’d be joining a similar defensive scheme as the one he thrived in with Tennessee. Echoing the criticism he had for Shanahan in 2013, Haynesworth said he was lied to after the Redskins changed from a 4-3 to a 3-4.
“That was one thing that was totally different when I went to Washington,” Haynesworth said. “They said on the phone that we were gonna do that same exact things, but it didn’t even come out being close to that.”
Shanahan addressed the Haynesworth debacle during his tell-all interview on ESPN 980 last month.
“We did some things in the 3-4 to put him in techniques where he could rush the passer first, and take advantage of his talents,” he said. “But he wasn’t mentally ready for that for some reason. For whatever reasons, he didn’t really get in great shape and play at the level we expected him to play at.”
Haynesworth played two seasons with the Redskins and had short stints with the Patriots and Bucs in 2011. He said he lost his love for the game during his time in Washington.
“Well, I mean, it wasn’t fun,” Haynesworth said Wednesday. “To be honest, after like a year or so of doing that, I mean, it really just got old. It was not, not fun. At Washington, it took my love away from the game. When I was with the Titans, playing for [Washburn], we loved the game. We loved, as a D-line, to go out and just destroy an offense. We didn’t win all the time or whatever, but just to know that we really caused problems for other offenses and that we played extremely hard… And then, when I went to Washington, it almost became like politics. Almost. It wasn’t 100 percent about football. It was like maybe 50 percent about football, and then 50 percent about just getting the name out there. Like, how many times could you mention ‘Washington Redskins’? It was just so different.”
Haynesworth, who called into the show while on a snowmobiling trip in New Hampshire, still wonders how his career might have turned out differently if he remained in Tennessee rather than accepting Dan Snyder’s money.
“Oh, I think about it every single day,” Haynesworth said. “I wish I did. I loved playing for the Titans. Like I said, I’ve told many people, if the upper management of the Titans had stepped up and just offered me anything that was worthwhile, that would have been great, and I think I still would’ve been there today. I think [former Titans coach] Jeff Fisher would’ve still been there, I think Jim Washburn would’ve still been there — maybe not [former Titans defensive coordinator Jim] Schwartz because he was going to get a head coaching job — but I think you’d still have that core together.”
Thanks to Chris Lingebach for sharing.