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Thursday, June 25, 2009
Interpreting Haynesworth talk on Titans

By Paul Kuharsky
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

Albert Haynesworth is a great interview because he's fearless. He doesn't worry what bosses or fans or friends or old friends will think. He gives an honest unfiltered answer.

But as with virtually anyone, his perspective is affected by who his friends are, where he is and who's showering him with money and affection.

In a Wednesday interview on "The Sirius Blitz" on SIRIUS NFL Radio Haynesworth talked about his former team.

Here is some of it from a transcript provided by Sirius, with my interpretations from more of a Titans perspective weaved in.

Host, Adam Schein: "Was it a situation where everything just ran its course for you in Tennessee? Was it time for you to leave Tennessee?"

Haynesworth: "Yeah, it was. It was. I'm kind of glad [we] didn't work out something there because it was really time for me to go and try to start this deal elsewhere and go out there and show how good I can play this game."

Kuharsky's interpretation: When you get the money and affection he got, of course you're happy and saying good things about the new team and not so good things about the old team.

Host, Jim Miller: "Can [the Titans] move on? Can you weigh in on whether Kyle Vanden Bosch can be a Pro Bowler again without your presence?"

Haynesworth: "Honestly, I don't know. I don't know how it's going to affect them or whatever. I took a lot of his double teams and things like that, allowed him to get single blocked so it's going to be different watching them and how they adapt to that."

Kuharsky's interpretation: He'd like to be missed and for the Titans to regret not trying harder to retain him, of course. If he plays well in Washington and they miss him in Tennessee, he smells like roses.

Miller: "Can Vince Young resurrect his career? What was your perception as his teammate?"

Haynesworth: "Vince is a really good friend of mine and everything, but I just don't see it happening in Tennessee. I think he has to go elsewhere and start elsewhere because I've been in that organization long enough and I know how kind of when you fall out of the good graces with certain people that you're not going to get back in it. I don't think they'll trade him because his cap number is too high, but he'll probably have to do his legacy elsewhere, which I definitely think he can because I think he's an awesome quarterback. He has amazing talent.

"He's a very passionate guy. He just loves to win and play the game. When things ain't going his way he's sitting on the sidelines trying to figure out himself. Now, all reports saying he refused to go back in the game and then he goes and gets hurt. I mean, that's not the case. They kind of blew it out [of proportion]...They can make or there or they can break you there. That's why I think it's time for him to go and start his career elsewhere and become that Hall of Fame quarterback that I know he can be."

Kuharsky's interpretation: Players often seem to think that falling out of good graces is something personal. No one wanted/wants Young to pan out more than the Titans -- who invested a high pick and millions in him and look bad because he's on their bench. But it's his approach, growth pace and ineffectiveness that put him in whatever bad position he is with Tennessee brass.

Young undeniably asked out of the season opener in 2008 before he was injured. It's a fact. We mean media can make you and can break you, and we helped make Haynesworth the richest defender in football, but he forgot about that while answering this question.

Regarding his relationship with Titans head coach Jeff Fisher:

Haynesworth: "I think it was OK. It was all right. You can say some good things; you can say some bad things. But I think it was OK. I don't hate the man."

Kuharsky's interpretation: He's a bit bitter because Fisher and the Titans ultimately didn't want him at market value. He shouldn't hate the man, who showed great patience when he was slow to understand what it meant to be in shape in the NFL, who kicked a teammate in practice and who stomped Andre Gurode in the face. In each instance Fisher allowed Haynesworth to earn his way back into good graces. Also, Fisher is the guy who hired Titans defensive line coach Jim Washburn, and Washburn played a bigger role in Haynesworth becoming a dominant force than anyone.

On his relationship with Redskins head coach Jim Zorn:

Haynesworth: "Coach Zorn is a very cool individual. You can go up and talk to him anytime, at any point. You can call him. I've probably talked to Coach Zorn on the cell phone more than I talked to Coach Fisher in seven years. And same thing with Mr. [Daniel] Snyder too. I know I've never talked to Mr. [Bud] Adams on the phone and I've talked to Mr. Snyder several times on the phone and he's called me and things like that. I mean, it's just a totally different situation there in Washington. It's not really like a division between the players and the front office. Here in Washington it's more that everybody gets along, everybody hangs out. You have Vinny [Cerrato] that comes down and works out around the same time we do and always coming through the training room and stuff. It's just really different. I've never been to any other team and I thought every team was pretty much like [the Titans]."

Kuharsky's interpretation: Fisher maintains a cool distance, but is hardly inaccessible. Position coaches are closest to players, and you'll notice Haynesworth didn't compare his new line coach to Washburn. Careful what you wish for in terms of a phone chat with Adams, who can meander around in such a conversation.

Mike Reinfeldt and Cerrato are probably polar opposites in personality. Fair to say Reinfeldt's not the kind of guy looking to workout beside players. I'd tend to be far more wary of an executive who's in the weight room than one who's not, but maybe that's just me. Snyder was courting Haynesworth and likes to be a player's pal as much as he likes to be an owner.

That Titans' distance sure doesn't translate in the win column like Washington's closeness does: The Titans are 35-29 in the last four years, the Redskins 32-32.

Revisiting my Haynesworth stance: If the Titans were $1 million away from re-signing him a year ago as he's said, they really blew it. I think his name means a lot to him after the Gurode stuff, and that he won't turn into a dog with the big contract because he doesn't want to see that name soiled again. Even if he's not as good in Washington, that doesn't mean he wouldn't have been good in Nashville.