FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- After logging his first playing time in a Patriots uniform in Thursday's exhibition finale against the New York Giants, defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth gushed about his time in New England, suggesting he'd give all the money he made in Washington back for a chance to come here sooner.
"[Fellow former Redskins defensive lineman Andre Carter and I] were talking, just about how different it is, how we really like this place," said Haynesworth. "For me, it’s a career-saving place for me to come. I had no idea it would be like this. It’s unbelievable. I wish I kinda took two years ago and came here."
When it was noted he earned a handsome payday for his time -- as turbulent as it was -- with the Redskins, Haynesworth added, "You know what, when all is said and done, hell, I’d give that money back and I’d come here."
Haynesworth started for New England and got tremendous penetration on the first snap which led to a New York fumble. Haynesworth finished with two tackles overall.
"It was great," said Haynesworth. "I need to knock off a lot of rust. I've kind of been just rusting, sitting in D.C. So, I need to get back, get back to that playing form when I was with the Titans."
While rhapsodizing about the depth on the defensive line, suggesting it was better than during his best days in Tennessee, and noting how that will allow him to "play as hard as I possibly can," Haynesworth raved about Bill Belichick's defensive schemes and called him a "brilliant coach." He also praised the support he's received in New England.
"Everybody is here for you," Haynesworth said when a reporter noted he seemed relaxed while addressing the media for only the second time since arriving. "I really enjoy that. I know my head coach is for me. I know my owner is for me. I know my players are for me. I feel relaxed, I’m having fun again. I’m having fun playing football again."
Haynesworth showed he's a fast learner. When a reporter tried to get him to state why he hadn't been on the field for much of training camp, Haynesworth smiled and noted, "I know I haven't been here that long, but you gotta talk to coach," which elicited laughter from the media horde.
Haynesworth went as far as to suggest this would be the last stop on his football journey.
"If, God forbid, I get cut from this team, I know I can go out there and play for another team, but I feel like this is going to my last place I’m going to play," he said. "If it doesn’t work out here, I'm not going to play anywhere else."