Albert Haynesworth was happy to take the money. But in hindsight, he wouldn’t have taken it from Dan Snyder.
The former defensive tackle, who was known as differently motivated during his playing career, wrote a first-person letter to his younger self for The Players Tribune in which he admits regrets over taking the $100 million contract Washington offered in 2009, saying: “You will lose your passion for football in Washington, and it will be impossible to get back.”
“If nothing else, listen to me on this, Albert: Do not leave the Tennessee Titans,” he wrote (such that players write for themselves there). “Your defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz is a mastermind. No matter how much I tell you this, you’ll probably never realize it until your career is over, but it’s true. You’re like a system quarterback. You thrive in a very specific scheme.”
Haynesworth also said the Buccaneers offered him a $135 million deal, but called the contract a “huge burden,” saying: “Take less and stay in Tennessee where you belong.”
Haynesworth suggests that he was dismayed when then-coach Mike Shanahan asked him to clog up the middle of the field rather than rush the passer as he had done with the Titans.
“You’re going to look at this famous NFL head coach in total disbelief and say, “You want to pay me $100 million to grab the center?” the letter read. “And he’s going to say, with a straight face, “Albert, if you have more than one sack this season, I’m going to be pissed.”
“The last thing you’ll say before walking out of the office is, “Can’t you just pay someone $300,000 a year to do that?”
The piece also mentions the fact that much of that money was gone, blaming an unscrupulous financial advisor. But it also portrays a player who now realizes the grass isn’t always greener, years after he took all the green.