Albert Haynesworth didn't stay unemployed long.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers claimed the two-time All-Pro defensive lineman off waivers Wednesday, one day after the New England Patriots released him. The Bucs were the only team to make a claim on Haynesworth, a league source told NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora.
|Albert Haynesworth played in just six games for the Patriots and recorded three tackles before he was released. (Stew Milne/US Presswire)|
Bucs general manager Mark Dominik said he more than likely wouldn't have been interested in giving Haynesworth an opportunity to revive his NFL career if the team hadn't lost 2010 first-round draft pick Gerald McCoy for the season this week because of a torn right biceps.
"But because of the situation we're in, I felt Albert Haynesworth has the best ability of any defensive tackle out there," Dominik said. "For us and for me, it made sense as an organization to bring him on board."
By claiming Haynesworth off waivers, the Bucs will take on the approximately $750,000 remaining on his $1.5 million base salary. The team also released defensive tackle John McCargo, whom they signed Tuesday, to clear a roster spot.
Haynesworth, a 30-year-old who has 30.5 career sacks, emerged as one of the top defensive tackles in the NFL during seven seasons with the Tennessee Titans. But he has been a huge disappointment since signing a seven-year, $100 million free-agent contract with the Washington Redskins in 2009, repeatedly clashing with coach Mike Shanahan during two rocky seasons. He continued to struggle after joining the Patriots in a trade, collecting three tackles and no sacks in six games.
"I thought that both he and myself, speaking for the staff, we really tried to make it work," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Wednesday. "He had a few physical 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 and, in the end, it just obviously didn't work out. The best thing we can do is just move on."
Dominik, who targeted Haynesworth as a free agent in 2009, believes the 10th-year pro can be effective again because Tampa Bay runs a 4-3 defense instead of the 3-4 alignments the lineman was asked to play in Washington and New England.
Pressed about his expectations for Haynesworth, Dominik conceded that the lineman would be evaluated "week to week" and could find himself without a team again if he doesn't perform.
"I have had a chance to talk to him already," the GM said. "As you would hope, he's excited and fired up. He asked, how soon can we get him a flight? He said he wants to get in tonight, so he can go to practice tomorrow. Those were his words. That's very encouraging.
"When I see him hit a gap or shoot a gap, he still can play football," Dominik added. "He's not one of these older players that really can't play anymore. I just want him to play our way."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.