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Titans allow Haynesworth to return, with anger counseling

Discussion in 'All Other Team Discussions' started by PackerLegend, Nov 15, 2006.

  1. PackerLegend

    PackerLegend Cheesehead

    Mar 26, 2006
    NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Albert Haynesworth says he learned through counseling that he should quit bottling up his emotions until they explode, a problem that landed him the NFL's longest suspension for an on-field act.

    His apparent remorse and willingness to seek help since kicking Dallas center Andre Gurode in the face with his cleats is why he will practice Wednesday with the Tennessee Titans.

    But the team is requiring Haynesworth to continue that anger management counseling. And that's fine with him.

    "I just want to keep doing it," Haynesworth said. "Honestly, it's helping. I can actually talk about stuff. My wife likes it, too. I actually open up and talk about any problems I have."

    Haynesworth worked out at the team's headquarters Monday, the first day he was eligible to return from his five-game suspension spread over six weeks. But the Titans had a few more questions they wanted to review before letting Haynesworth practice with his teammates again

    They finally satisfied themselves and held a news conference Tuesday afternoon detailing what coach Jeff Fisher called one of the most difficult situations the team has faced since he became coach in November 1994.

    "We believe ... that Albert is prepared to put this incident behind him, move forward and play this game with the respect and the integrity with which it was designed to be played with," Fisher said.

    Haynesworth's first counseling session came six days after swiping his cleats across Gurode's helmetless head on Oct. 1 in a loss to the Cowboys. He has had four sessions so far, and Haynesworth said he didn't know how many he would need.

    "I'm glad the (suspension) time is over with, and I'm allowed to come back to work and participate," Haynesworth said.

    The counseling was a key factor for the Titans. Fisher said obviously "something went wrong" when Haynesworth left Gurode needing 30 stitches to close his cuts.

    Fisher credited Haynesworth with recognizing immediately after the game that he had done something wrong.

    "What we want to do as an organization (is) an effort to help Albert. And also the right thing to do is to do everything to ensure this kind of conduct does not happen again," Fisher said.

    Owner Bud Adams has been aware of all the discussions, according to Steve Underwood, the team's chief operating officer. He said they are satisfied the process will ensure this won't happen again.

    So Haynesworth will talk to his teammates Wednesday before practicing.

    Whether he plays Sunday when the Titans (2-7) visit the Philadelphia Eagles (5-4) won't be decided until Fisher sees what kind of football shape his tackle is in. Haynesworth said his weight is 335, and he has been working out and running to be ready when his suspension ended.

    "Six weeks is a long time to be away from this game," Fisher said. "He hasn't had plastic on in six weeks, pads. I'm confident he's in shape. He's indicated to me he's worked very hard."

    Haynesworth drew unanimous condemnation for losing his temper on Oct. 1, and he looked out of control as he followed the referee, yelling about being ejected. He calmed down while sitting in an empty locker room and realized what he had done.

    He apologized after the game, said he was sorry to Gurode in a phone call and hired public relations specialists as he tried to atone. After a final apology at a news conference on Oct. 5, Haynesworth disappeared.

    Haynesworth said his six weeks away from the NFL and the prospect that he might not ever play again or even be hired for any job was very scary. Asked if he had figured out why he exploded, he called it a bad moment, probably one of the worst in his life.

    But he said everybody makes mistakes, and he thinks this one changed his life.

    "I'm good; I had some time off, I worked out and learned some new football moves," Haynesworth said during his return Tuesday to his weekly radio show on WNFN-FM in Nashville.

    Haynesworth said he has learned through his first four counseling sessions, including one Tuesday, that he should talk with others and let people help him with problems. He already has learned to talk more with his wife, and said he is eager to continue the counseling.

    This wasn't an isolated incident for Haynesworth, merely the worst. In the past he has picked up a metal pole to track down a college teammate he had sparred with, only to be stopped by a coach. Another time he kicked then-Titans teammate Justin Hartwig in the chest. And he has been involved in a handful of fights in practice.

    Haynesworth realizes that he will be a target for opponents and fans who will try to push him to explode again.

    "That was just one bad play. I can't guarantee, but I can say in my power it'll never happen again," he said.

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