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Albert Haynesworth: Closure

November 9, 2011 1 comment


The New England Patriots released Albert Haynesworth today and thus ends the saga documented in a number of posts, here, here, here and here. I’m not obsessed with the man, it’s just that the story has reached its fitting conclusion and I’m dutifully wrapping things up.

He had three tackles for New England this year. He suffered numerous injuries. He seemed to be out of shape. He was tossed around like a rag doll by a Giants guard last Sunday and it led directly to a New York touchdown and then a verbal altercation on the sidelines between Haynesworth and New England’s defensive coordinator.

It would appear that at the ripe old age of 30, his career has ended. Hubris, ego and a highly questionable work ethic have finally done him in, though I suspect more than anything else, it was really all that money Redskins owner, Daniel Snyder gave him that doomed the one-time all-pro. It’s just possible that when someone signs you to a $100 million dollar plus contract, you might develop an exaggerated view of yourself.

The whole situation was, at one time during his Redskins tenure, maddening, funny, ridiculous and outrageous. But there’s nothing really amusing about Albert anymore. It’s actually kind of sad and I hope he finds some humility and some inner peace and gets his life together outside of the NFL.

Update: Well, not so fast. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have picked up Albert and though he had said New England would be his last stop…he was just kidding! He gets $8 million over two years. Using my trusty calculator…let’s see…8 games with the Patriots, three tackles…Albert has collected $666,666 for each tackle he’s made this season.

Baseball: Closing the Deal is the Hardest Task of All

September 26, 2011 Leave a comment


The Bruins are the defending NHL champs. The Celtics regularly make the playoffs. The Patriots are perennial Super Bowl contenders and the Bosox have won two World Series titles over the past decade.

But the entire city has been humbled recently and Sunday was particularly tough on the psyche of the Boston sports fan. Their beloved Patriots lost to the heretofore lowly Buffalo Bills and the Red Sox are teetering on the edge of an epic collapse that would set a new standard for epic collapses.

With tongue firmly planted in cheek but sharing the general angst being felt by the city’s sports fans, Boston Globe sports columnist, Dan Shaughenessy, went so far last Friday as to ask the Commissioner of Baseball to disqualify the Red Sox from the playoffs even if they do somehow manage to back into post-season play, saying they just don’t deserve the honor given the horrific way they have played in September.

Their brilliant centerfielder, Jacoby Ellsbury, may have saved their season with a two-out, 14th inning, 3-run homer that beat the Yankees last night, but even so, they cling to a 1-game lead over Tampa Bay and the paranoia in Bean Town is palpable. Their starting pitching is in tatters, their dugout demeanor has been deflated and defeated.

On Saturday, the horror of this September that they opened with a 9-game Wild Card lead, was in abundant display as Red Sox leftfield bust, Carl Crawford, botched a line-drive out that led to a pair of 2nd-inning runs, followed shortly thereafter by a Derek Jeter 3-run blast that put the Bosox hopelessly behind 6-0. Carl Crawford was supposed to be one of their free-agent saviors after the Washington Nationals unexpectedly stole the guy they wanted, former Phillies outfielder Jayson Werth, in an off-season acquisition.

Aside from accidently screwing the Red Sox by forcing them to pick up Crawford, the Nationals have had a good old time over the past couple of weeks derailing hopes and planting doubts in otherwise, really good baseball teams. They took four games from the Phillies in Philadelphia after the Phils had clinched the division. Oh, big deal, you say, the games were meaningless. Yes, but that set the stage for baseball’s best team to go into an 8-game slide they finally ended Sunday. Probably not the way you want to go into the playoffs.

And the Nats took two out of three this weekend from the Atlanta Braves who are vying with the Red Sox for an almost equally disastrous National League epic collapse.

Getting the last three outs in a baseball game is a famously difficult task. Getting the final victories at the close of baseball’s marathon 162-game season is even more difficult. White knuckles and fear seem to overwhelm the emotions of normally rational and competitive men.

For perspective, here in Washington, D.C., we are immensely proud that our baseball team is about to finish in third place in their division. We are ecstatic that our football team has started the season with two victories and we appear to be on the road to a .500 season. For all those Phillies, Braves and Red Sox/Patriots fans accustomed to the rarefied air of constant success- this week in sports is proving that, at the very least, you should be really grateful your teams are even in the position of disappointing you.

Update on Haynesworth- Mostly MIA

I’m not supposed to care about Albert Haynesworth anymore because he left the Redskins for the Patriots- but curiosity got the better of me so I checked in with the Boston Globe. He hasn’t practiced now for 19 days.

The New England media, at first convinced this was going to be another case in which miracle-worker Bill Belicheck was going to somehow reform yet another Diva-Athlete malcontent- is now not so sure.

Here’s a terrific and hilarious article by the dean of Boston sportswriters, Dan Shaughnessy.

And here are the highlights:

Best of all, they [the New England Patriots] have a secret – and we mean secret – weapon that is almost never seen, rarely practices, and is unlikely to be deployed in a preseason game. Don’t tell the Dolphins, but the Patriots plan to surprise them in the season opener Sept. 12 when they wheel out the great Albert Haynesworth….Other than a fan’s Twitter photo (which surfaced this week) of Albert eating Italian ice on Atlantic Avenue, there was no record of Albert’s whereabouts from Aug. 4 until yesterday, when he watched practice.

“Watched’’ is the key word. Haynesworth did not participate in anything. Not even light running. No one is saying whether he is hurt or out of shape. Bill Belichick says he is “day to day,’’ but won’t say whether he’s planning on Albert for the opener.

So there you have it. The Patriots have Haynesworth and they’re not going to be dopes and show him to the opposition. He doesn’t need to practice. It worked with Randy Moss in 2007 (9 catches, 183 yards in the opener after a no-show preseason) and it’ll work again.

Patriot’s coaches and ownership are saying Albert is just misunderstood and most of the terrible things that have been written about him in recent years are all bunk.

Meanwhile, the Patriots PR machine (including actual Patriot employees) prepares to nominate Albert for a Nobel Prize and Time’s Man of the Year. Never mind the rap sheet that’s longer than Ted Williams’ Hall of Fame plaque. So what if the Redskins gave Albert a $100 million contract, then sent him home for the last four games of 2010 rather than have him around to poison their team.

Even for a lousy high-round draft pick, the Redskins getting rid of Albert was the best move EVER.

So sorry, Patriot nation.

Bye Bye Albert (If he passes the physical)

Two seasons worth of Albert Haynesworth should be just about enough for anybody. His largeness is theoretically headed to the New England Patriots ridding the Washington Redskins of their most annoying player ever and writing the final chapter on Daniel Snyder’s high-spending ineptitude.

For $100 million, the Skins got maybe a half a season out of him. Along the way he pouted about the team’s defensive system, complained about the coaches, failed physicals, got arrested a couple of times, got suspended, got taken off the field in a cart once after getting winded in a game, fell to the ground uninjured but seemingly exhausted during a play and stayed on the turf like a gigantic beached whale while 21 other players continued running, blocking and tackling all around him.

There are some priceless quotes from a few newspapers about all this today that I’d like to share. From the New York Times:

Now, apparently Patriots Coach Bill Belichick believes his magic powers extend to extracting…talent from Haynesworth, which means he spent his lockout time building a wand strong enough to move nearly 400 pounds of self-absorbed entitlement.

And the Boston Globe puts it this way:

Well, this will certainly liven up camp.

Patriot’s fans seem to be optimistic. The Boston Globe asks them what they think of the trade. Here are the latest numbers:

1) Love it, if anyone can straighten him out, it’s Bill Belichick 55%
2) He’s going to be more trouble than he’s worth 12%
3) I’ll wait and see before deciding 32%

Belichick will have to see if he passes the physical on which this trade is contingent. Albert didn’t too well with physicals at last year’s training camp, failing them three times. Pats fans will also be hoping Albert avoids incarceration after his August 23rd trial for misdemeanor sexual assault. Presumably he can afford some pretty good lawyers.

Redskins fans will be circling Sunday, December 11th on their calendars; the day the Patriots are due at Fed Ex Field and our first opportunity in DC to see the New Albert, the Old Albert or No Albert.