BOSTON (CBS) –Rodney Harrison agrees with his former team cutting ties with Albert Haynesworth, calling the defensive lineman a quitter.
“They did the right thing. I think he flat-out quit,” Harrison told 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Felger and Massarotti on Thursday. “At one point in time, there was no better defensive tackle in the game, at least most dominant guy. It’s really a shame. You look at this player, he has a $100-million contract, he obviously has financial success. But isn’t it more than money?”
The former New England Patriots safety liked the move when Bill Belichick traded a fifth round draft pick for Haynesworth before training camp, but is disappointed at how things ended.
“I thought he was going to be a player that was going to turn his career around. He has a great quarterback, a great coach and a good host of other veteran players,” Harrison said of Haynesworth’s time in New England. “I felt like it was a great mix for him to come in and really establish himself… For this to go the way it’s gone, it’s no one’s fault but his. No one told him not to work out, not to come in shape.”
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“The disappointing part is he’ll be sitting back at 35-40 years old, in his mansion, and anytime his name is mentioned he’ll be synonymous with a quitter… a guy that gave up. A guy that basically took the money and ran; a reverse gold-digger.”
When asked about his former team, Harrison said he thinks the Patriots will win the division, but will likely fall to the same playoff fate from the last two seasons.
“I think they win the division, but if they don’t shore up that offensive line, if that secondary doesn’t compete, then guess what’s going to happen. The same thing that’s happened the last two years; one and done.”
Although the secondary, where Harrison roamed for the Pats from 2003-2008, has been horrid, he said the offensive line is the biggest worry for the Patriots right now.
“They’ve given up a lot of sacks, and Tom Brady doesn’t look comfortable back there. They’re going to need to protect him going forward,” said Harrison.
As for the secondary, it should not have been too hard to predict they would struggle this season.
“When you assembled that secondary, you knew they weren’t going to play at a championship level. You just hoped they could play and get a little bit better, over the years,” said Harrison.
“[Devin] Mccourty has regressed a bit; he isn’t playing the aggressive style of football,” Harrison said of the second-year corner. “But the problem I have is when you’re playing timid; are you afraid of making a mistake, are you not competing?… I don’t have a problem with guys going out there and competing and getting beat. If the coach says play outside technique, and the receiver does an inside route and catches the ball, as long as you’re there to knock him out or make him pay for it…eventually you’ll start making the plays if you’re in the right place.”
While Harrison says coaching is important for preparing the players, what they do on the field is what matters most come Sundays. That is what set the Super Bowl Patriots apart from their competition in years past.
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“We had a special group in ‘03 and ‘04, it’s going to be very hard to replicate,” said Harrison. “The good combination of unselfish veteran players, we had young players that were really willing to learn; we just had that chemistry. A lot of times when you assemble new guys, you bring in rookie players, second year players and veteran players from other teams, it’s hard to re-create that magic. That’s something we had, and the Patriots don’t have that yet.”
Tune in to the Patriots-Jets game Sunday night on 98.5 The Sports Hub. Pregame coverage begins with Patriots Gameday on WBZ-TV at 11:30am, with the Hub’s pregame beginning at 5:00pm. Tune in after the game for the Patriots Postgame Show, and Patriots Fifth Quarter on WBZ-TV.