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Haynesworth Aims to Show Titans 'They're Missing Me'


Albert Haynesworth's job is in Washington but he still calls Tennessee home.

He spent four years at the University of Tennessee and seven years with the Titans before signing with the Redskins in 2009. His year-round home is in Knoxville, Tenn., but still maintains a condo in Nashville where the Titans play.

This week, Haynesworth returns to Nashville to play the Titans for the first time.

"I just want to go out there and get a victory," he said. "Go there, play hard and show them that they're missing me."

Haynesworth's second season in Washington has been a turbulent one, from his training camp conditioning test to adjusting to the Redskins' new 3-4 scheme and to the passing of his brother in a motorcycle accident in Nashville.

He said this week that he has no regrets leaving Tennessee, although he admits he does wonder what it would be like to still be playing there.

"The fact of the matter is, [the Titans organization] never pays defensive linemen," Haynesworth said. "I knew that wasn't going to change. Do they wish they still had me? Yeah. Sometimes I wish I was still back there because I feel like I could still be dominant [in the Titans' scheme]."

Ever since the 6-6, 335-pound Haynesworth signed a lucrative contract with the Redskins in 2009, he has drawn plenty of attention in Washington.

A two-time Pro Bowler with the Titans, Haynesworth has shown flashes of dominance in the last two seasons in Washington – he has 75 tackles and six sacks in that span – but he feels he has not played in a scheme that best suits his talents.

He does not believe playing nose tackle and the 3-4 scheme implemented by Jim Haslett fits his skills, but he has found a role in the team's nickel package – and his productivity has jumped as a result.

"I still think that I'm not playing as well as I can," Haynesworth said. "All of it isn't about the player, sometimes it's the scheme a little bit. Here, we're getting back to it. They're letting me play, so you're seeing a lot more production out of me than you did last year and earlier this year."

This week, Haynesworth has drawn criticism for a play in last Monday's game vs. Philadelphia in which he lay on the ground for a few seconds while Eagles quarterback Michael Vick was throwing a touchdown pass.


Haynesworth said that he fell to the ground after he was brushed by fellow defensive lineman Vonnie Holliday. He thought he heard the referee blow the whistle so he stayed on the ground "and gathered myself."

It was perhaps just another misconception people have of Haynesworth.

"People probably don't think I care about the Washington Redskins, and that's not true," he said. "I have a lot of great friends on this team and we do a lot of great things together. And people think that just because I got paid I'm not going to play [hard]. That's not true either. I've always said, 'just put me in the right situation and I'll be fine.'"

Haynesworth said he is starting to feel some appreciation for what he brings to the Redskins.

"Last year [in Greg Blache's defense], I felt like I was just a showpiece to take out blocks and help my teammates – which I want to do, but when my teammates are playing well, I want to play well, too," he said. "I want to get sacks. At Tennessee, they knew I would draw the double team and get a lot of the attention. And they would move me around and do a lot of different things so I could still make plays."

Sunday's game will be the first time that Haynesworth returns to Nashville since his brother's death on Oct. 8.

Haynesworth left the Redskins to be with his family and he attended a memorial service for his brother three days after the tragedy.

"I think of my brother every day," he said. "It doesn't matter where I'm at. [The accident] only happened probably seven or eight miles away from the stadium. He's still close to me and he's still with me."

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