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Untapped Potential: Albert Haynesworth

Image: Susan Walsh/Associated Press


Untapped potential can be described as nearly having an all world career, but never having that it factor to be able to take that player over the hump. That can be said about our focus player today in Albert Haynesworth. Coming out of the University of Tennessee Haynesworth had the making of a generational talent. But he just never lived up to that hype.

College Years

During his freshman season in 1999 Haynesworth didn’t have much production. He only played in seven games during this season. Next came his sophomore season. Haynesworth became a solid contributor during this season as he gained 18 tackles on 3.5 sacks. Entering his junior season Haynesworth looked to show just who he was. He did exactly that this season. His best game of the year came against his home state team in South Carolina. But this season wasn’t all good things. We saw a glimpse in the future with Haynesworth anger issues. During a practice this season he and a teammate got into a fight. Haynesworth left practice and came back later with a metal pole about to swing. Head Coach Phillip Fulmer and other assistants were able to put a stop to it before anything happened. Even with all this going on Haynesworth finished the season with second team All-Sec Honors.

Rookie Season (2002)

Haynesworth was highly sought after out of UT. So much so that the Titans traded for him from the New York Giants in the same draft. The Giants were the team who picked him but the Titans traded future all pro tight end Jeremy Shockey to the Giants. Haynesworth ended up with a solid rookie season. He was responsible for 30 tackles and a single sack this year. He also added in 7 tackles for loss.

2nd Season (2003)

Haynesworth played less games in his second season than he did his first. But his production saw a slight increase. He finished the year with 32 tackles and 2.5 sacks. By this point in his career he had earned the nickname “two plays” This came about because he had the tendency to only be on the field for two plays then he has to come off the field and collect his breath. Haynesworth would try his best to bounce back the next season.

3rd Season (2004)

Haynesworth saw his most limited action in this season. He was only able to suit up and play in ten games this year. But he made the most of his limited playing time. He racked up 37 tackles with one sack on the season. He battled injury problems throughout this season.

4th Season (2005) 

Haynesworth nearly saw a full season this year. He ended up playing and starting in 14 games this year. He finished the season with 52 tackles and 3 sacks. This surprisingly wasn’t enough to earn him a pro-bowl slot or an all pro team. But he was a force to be reckoned with this season.

5th Season (2006)

This season was shaping out to be a good one for Haynesworth. He was on pace to make his first Pro-Bowl. But that’s when he did the unthinkable. Cowboys running back Julius Jones scored a routine touchdown. But that wasn’t the focus of this play, Albert Haynesworth stomping the face of center Andre Gurode was. He was slapped with a 5 million dollar fine for the incident and suspended for the final 5 games of the season.

6th Season (2007) 

The next two years Haynesworth would see a career resurgence. He won the Defensive Player of the year award and he made his first Pro-Bowl. Haynesworth has six sacks with another 12 TFL’s. With his production the Titans would make a postseason run. Haynesworth would piggyback off this season with another highly productive season.

7th Season (2008) 

This was Haynesworth’s best season as a pro. He had 15 tackles for loss and added in 8.5 sacks. He also earned another Pro-Bowl selection and Defensive Player of the Year Award. This would earn Haynesworth a massive payday in the offseason. But now with some hindsight this is considered the worst contract of all time.

8th Season (2009) 

The Hundred Million Dollar man would see a career decline hard in his first season in Washington. This season he only netted 4 sacks and 37 total tackles. He also was only able to play in 12 games this season. Injuries and other off the field issues put a damper on this season for Haynesworth. The new scheme that Haynesworth was playing in didn’t help him either. Instead of being a dominant guy chasing the passer and stuffing runs, Washington just wanted him to eat blockers and take up space.

9th Season (2010) 

This season was one of his worst as a pro. He wasn’t able to physically do it anymore. He famously earned a reputation for giving no effort during some plays. One of his more famous moments came when he simply laid on the ground during a live play against the Eagles. He went to the ground and refused to get up and be apart of the play. This caused him to be traded just two years into his massive contract.

10th Season (2011) 

This season would be Haynesworth’s last. He split time between the Buccaneers and the New England Patriots. He would only recorded 23 tackles in 13 games played. Haynesworth decided to retire following this season.

What Went Wrong? 

So what happened? Haynesworth had an ego and it showed. He thought he was better than everyone else and the toxicity permeated through the building. Not only that but he had anger problems and that didn’t help either. Haynesworth had also been taking the toridol shot based on teammate advice to help stop his chronic pain. It helped in the moment but he now feels the effects from taking it for ten years. Years of injuries, ego issues, and other disputes throughout his career pushed him into early retirement and never allowed him to live to his full potential.

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