New England Patriots  

 

Patriots pull plug on DT Haynesworth midway through season

The New England Patriots released defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, his agent, Chad Speck, said Tuesday, and the team later confirmed the move.

Teams have 24 hours to pluck Haynesworth off waivers, and he'd be owed roughly $750,000 of his $1.5 million base salary if claimed by Wednesday afternoon. Haynesworth also has playing-time incentives, but they would be difficult for him to earn at this juncture, a source said.

If he isn't claimed, Haynesworth would become a free agent.


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Several teams could use a defensive tackle, although Haynesworth's ineffective play and aloof behavior has rankled teammates and coaches at previous stops and could hinder his employment. Haynesworth got into a shouting match with Patriots defensive line coach Pepper Johnson during Sunday's 24-20 loss to the New York Giants, but a source with knowledge of the situation said the lineman, who had just three tackles in six games this season, was told by the Patriots that his behavior didn't factor into his release.

"He was told it just wasn't a good fit and they wanted to end it now," the source said of Haynesworth, who also missed two games because of a back injury.

Asked Monday why Haynesworth missed most of the second half Sunday, Patriots coach Bill Belichick said it was part of the regular rotation of defensive linemen. Haynesworth's last play as a Patriot came when Giants left guard David Diehl blocked him to clear the way for Brandon Jacobs' 10-yard touchdown run with 9:10 left in the third quarter.

Four months ago, New England sent a 2013 fifth-round draft pick to Washington for Haynesworth, who clashed with Redskins coach Mike Shanahan one year after being signed to a seven-year, $100 million free-agent contract by the previous coaching-management regime. Haynesworth spent the first seven seasons of his career in Tennessee, where at times he was considered one of the most dominant defensive linemen in the NFL.

The Patriots also announced Tuesday that they had released tight end Dan Gronkowski, signed wide receiver Tiquan Underwood to the 53-man roster and cut offensive lineman Thomas Welch from the practice squad.

Follow Steve Wyche on Twitter @wyche89.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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