Belichick on Haynesworth: We tried
"I'll just say this on the Albert situation. I thought that both he and myself -- speaking for the (coaching) staff -- we really tried to make it work," said Belichick. "He had a few limitations to overcome when he got here, but I thought he really tried to do what we asked him to do. We tried to work with him. In the end, it just didn't work out. I think the best thing we could do was move on."
Haynesworth looks to have moved on quickly. He was claimed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers late Wednesday afternoon.
Belichick was not of a mind to elaborate on Haynesworth, interrupting a follow-up question by saying, "That's all we have to say about it. We'll talk about the guys that are here and move on to the Jets," who are the Patriots' Sunday night opponents.
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The coach was pressed as to whether there were injury concerns that contributed to the mammoth defensive tackle's lack of production and subsequent release.
"No, he missed some time early in camp, but in the end, that all worked out," said Belichick, who then interrupted the next follow-up question of whether Haynesworth had been worth the risk of giving up a fifth-round 2013 draft pick for him. "It's all done with," Belichick said. "On to the Jets."
Haynesworth's sudden departure did not generate much of a reaction among his now-former teammates. Not that there were many Patriot regulars available to the media in the allotted 45-minute period in the locker room, but those who did comment adopted a business-like it's-not-our-decision mantra.
"That's what coaches do," said veteran running back Kevin Faulk. "We play football. We don't worry about that."
"During a football season, a lot of things happen to the team," added linebacker Rob Ninkovich. "Injuries are part of it. Roster moves are part of it. We have to deal with things and turn the page, move on. I think whatever the staff does is obviously for the team to be competitive on Sunday. Whatever decisions are made, we respect them and move on, and on Sunday we go out and give the best effort for the team."
Defensive back James Ihedigbo echoed the same theme.
"It's one of those things (where) you know the organization is always going to look out for the best interest of the team in the long run. Whatever they feel, we have nothing else to do but support them and support the rest of the team, so that's what we're going to do," said Ihedigbo.
The one player who seemingly stands to benefit the most from Haynesworth's departure in terms of playing time is defensive lineman Kyle Love. But Love, whose solid play up front clearly made Belichick comfortable with jettisoning the 6-foot-6, 350-pound Haynesworth, wasn't about to get drawn into a discussion about the roster move.
"I don't really want to get into that. I don't want to talk about it. That's not my deal. You'd have to talk to Bill about that," said Love, a 6-foot-1, 310-pounder in his second NFL season.
Love, who entered the league with the Patriots as an undrafted player despite a stellar career at Mississippi State, said he had been happy to see that New England had acquired Haynesworth from the Washington Redskins during training camp, even though that deal amounted to pushing Love down a bit on the depth chart.
"I was actually excited," said Love. "I got to learn something from another D-tackle. He has a big name in the league. ... I get to learn a lot of stuff from (Haynesworth and Vince Wilfork), so I kinda just soaked it all in."
Haynesworth missed two games because of back trouble, and in the six games he did play in, he made only three tackles and did not register a sack. Against the Giants, Haynesworth was on the field for only nine plays. On his last play as a member of the Patriots, he was pushed aside by Giants guard David Diehl, opening a hole for Brandon Jacobs.' virtually untouched 10-yard touchdown run that put New York on top, 10-0, with 9:10 remaining in the third quarter.
According to ESPNBoston.com's charting, Haynesworth participated in133 of 561 snaps (including penalties) in his disappointing and now-abbreviated time with the team.
Haynesworth's play had been so uninspiring that Jets coach Rex Ryan said he hadn't exactly been game-planning for him.
"I'm sure he's done some good things and has talent, but he wasn't a player we were concerned with," said Ryan.
He and the Jets may have to turn their attention to Love, who likely is to be the player picking up the extra snaps on Sunday. But Love said he won't approach his job on the team any differently.
"I just know I have to step up even more now. But I always practice hard and play hard. The chip on my shoulder gets bigger each week," Love said.
Love has racked up 24 tackles, 18 unassisted. He also has one sack.
As they prepare for the Jets, the Patriots made a couple of other moves Wednesday, the biggest putting safety Josh Barrett on season-ending injured reserve.
They also re-signed linebacker Niko Koutouvides and promoted Sterling Moore to the 53-man roster from the practice squad. On Tuesday they signed wide receiver Tiquan Underwood for a second stint with the team.
Steven Krasner is a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Information from ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss and Chris Forsberg contributed to this report.