Haynesworth: Contract talks are 'slow'

Thursday, January 29, 2009 at 9:16pm

Talks on a new contract extension are moving a bit too slowly for Albert Haynesworth’s liking.

That is what the Tennessee Titans free-agent-to-be defensive tackle told WGFX-FM 104.5 The Zone Thursday from Radio Row in Tampa, site of Super Bowl XLIII.

“It’s been kind of slow. [General manager Mike] Reinfeldt has called, called my agent [Chad Speck] and talked to him. But it’s been pretty slow,” Haynesworth said. “We thought they would put a really good effort up. But you look at the past, it was a long time before we even got anywhere close to a deal. It was like the day before the deadline that we even got close to a deal last year. You look at the past, they’re slow, since Mike’s been in office. We just think it will go down to the 23rd hour.”

Haynesworth, who played under the franchise tender of $7.25 million and earned built-in incentives with his play in 2008, can become an unrestricted free agent on Feb. 27.

“I’ve been saying this the whole time. Tennessee is my first choice, but if things don’t work out, I’ll be prepared to go to other teams,” Haynesworth said. “Hopefully, it doesn’t work that way, but everything is moving kind of slowly now, so we’ll see.”

Reinfeldt and Speck discussed parameters of a deal late last week, but at that time, no offer was forthcoming from the Titans, sources told The City Paper earlier this week.

Haynesworth said that playing under the franchise tag last season and now earning his ticket into free agency has actually played out well for him, because he now owns the leverage unless he is re-signed before Feb. 27.

“When they tagged me, I wasn’t surprised. I was still making good money and everything, and I was satisfied with that,” Haynesworth said. “And now, it’s kind of worked out in our favor to where we had the incentives in the contract and now we’ve got free agency. So now they’ve got to see me now, or see me later. They’ve got to see me now, I guess.”

Efforts to reach Reinfeldt on Thursday were unsuccessful.

Haynesworth reiterated that he wants to stay a Titan, but will keep all his options open as he seeks a deal that will make him one of the NFL’s top-paid defensive players.

“Like I said, Tennessee has the first shot. We’ll see how that goes, and if it doesn’t go well, I could see the free agent market,” Haynesworth said. “I started my NFL career there. I’d love to retire in the same jersey. My kids are there. My kids were born there. It’s a lot of history. I played at the University of Tennessee. There’s a lot of stuff that factors in, but we’ve just got to see how it works out.”

If he exits via free agency, he said that he wants to stay close to his home in Knoxville, meaning that Atlanta and/or Carolina could become potential landing spots.

“Either way I want to stay by my kids and stay by my house in Knoxville,” he said.

Haynesworth recorded 8.5 sacks this season, a career high, and was named All-Pro for the second straight season. He also earned his second consecutive Pro Bowl berth and will depart Sunday for Hawaii.

The only question now becomes is whether or not that will be his last time to represent the Titans.

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By: TheHunter on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I don't blame Al at all for wanting to get paid

By: VUGuy on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Dear Mike Reinfeldt, Jeff Fisher and Bud Adams, PLEASE DON'T BLOW THIS. BRING ALBERT BACK! GIVE HIM WHAT HE WANTS!

By: BigPapa on 12/31/69 at 6:00

This is not the time to be cheap. You have the rest of your existance to be middle of the road, spend the money and make a dang push towards the SB.

By: OneTimer on 12/31/69 at 6:00

overspend for a guy who only plays when it's contract time, who is now starting toward the downside of his career? how can everyone not see this?

By: MWPYLE on 12/31/69 at 6:00

What I find funny in all this is how folks have such different thoughts about sports stars and the "other" rich guys. If he was working for L-P instead of at LP Field folks would be SCREAMING about a guy making $7 mill looking to double it! (And don't say there wasn't 'bailout' money, if the community had not "partnered" to build the stadium downtown, there would be no team.)

By: nashbeck on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Good points OneTimer and MWPYLE. I would love to see Haynesworth back for the Titans, but I question whether or not he will have a season like the last two.. If he stays motivated and healthy, that's great. However, if he gets paid and then underperforms... We are in a hole. Look at what happened when we overpaid Steve Mcnair and Eddie George- It sounded great at the moment, but it put us in some serious cap hell. I am one to believe that we will have a labor agreement, so I don't know what to say about potentially no cap in 2010. Either way, I know The Titans will make a very fair offer to Haynesworth, and it will just be a matter of whether Haynesworth wants to play for a SB with the friends he has made , under the coaches and organization that drafted him and stuck with him through the anger issues, or if he goes for more $$.GO TITANS!!!!

By: jwk6179 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I don't see Albert Haynesworth being back for the Titans after this statement. Some other team will offer him a contract too good for him to pass up and I just don't see the Titans willing to match it. We will also find out how much he wants to stay in Nashville by how fast he signs after the start of free agency. If he signs with another NFL within just a few hours after the start of free agency, then his statement about wanting to stay with the Titans are just words. If he wants a few days before he signs with another team, then he truely wanted to stay with the Titans if at all possible.

By: VUGuy on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Some poor points made here. OneTimer, if by starting towards the downside of his career you mean entering his prime, then you are correct. This idea that AH's best days are behind him are hogwash.MWPYLE, we'd be screaming if our tax dollars had just bailed out the Titans because they'd done such a poor job. On the flip side, I'd have no problem with the large salaries and bonuses of the Wall St. gang if they were doing a good job. The differences are pretty obvious.

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Going 13-3, winning the division and getting home-field throughout the playoffs is a "poor job"? You have to take the entire season into context. Despite their loss in the playoffs, they exceeded expectations this year, so it was successful.

By: frank brown on 12/31/69 at 6:00

If they want his loyalty the Titans should buy it. These are difficult times and I see no reason why a man with the bargaining power that Haynesworth has should shortchange himself.

By: Gusdog on 12/31/69 at 6:00

gd - I don't think VUGuy was saying that the Titans did a poor job; he was comparing it to the bailout, where company CEOs got huge bonuses after doing a poor job.And the Titans need to pay Albert. He may not play up to quite the same level he has over the last two years, but if the Titans don't pay him, the Colts or Texans will, and I'd hate for the Titans to have to face him twice a year with a chip on his shoulder.

By: JK049 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I agree- don't blow it guys. Get rid of Vince Young, free up some spoace if need be, and sign the guy.