A year ago, one of the biggest stories in the NFL was Albert Haynesworth’s status as a malcontent and distraction who couldn’t pass the Washington Redskins’ conditioning test. Today one of the biggest stories in the NFL is that Haynesworth finally got his wish, got out of Washington and is heading to New England.
So will he be a malcontent and distraction again?
Not according to some of his new teammates, who said today that Haynesworth’s problems were specific to Washington, and that in New England, there’s really no option of being anything other than a team player.
“You can see that Albert wasn’t really happy in his situation,” Patriots defensive end Ty Warren said. “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.”
Defensive tackle Vince Wilfork, who may be the player most affected by the arrival of Haynesworth, says the two of them will both be willing to play either end or tackle — whatever the coaches want.
“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.
So Haynesworth’s fellow New England defensive linemen are sure that he’ll fit in, or else he won’t last. What we still don’t know is what kind of shape Haynesworth is in.
But we do know that Bill Belichick, like Mike Shanahan, expects his players to pass their conditioning tests. Fortunately, the test Belichick requires is one that even one of the slowest players in league history can pass.
“Bernie Kosar took that conditioning test five years, and he passed it every time,” Belichick told Peter King in 2002.
Kosar, for those who don’t recall, was one of the slowest players the NFL has ever seen. If Haynesworth can’t pass a running test that Kosar aced, he may not be a Patriot for long.