NEW YORK -- Albert Haynesworth's temper has landed him in trouble with teammates and coaches before. By stomping another player's head, the Tennessee Titans defensive tackle not only disgusted himself, he also drew a five-game suspension -- the longest for on-field behavior in NFL history.
And that may just be the beginning of the grief for Haynesworth, who fell to the Titans in the middle of the first round of the 2002 draft because of maturity questions.
The 6-foot-6, 320-pound Haynesworth stomped on Dallas Cowboys center Andre Gurode's head Sunday, knocking off his helmet, then kicked and stomped his face. Gurode needed 30 stitches to repair the cuts left by the tackle's cleats, and plans to talk with his family about whether or not to press charges, his agent told Nashville police Monday.
The league suspended Haynesworth for five games -- more than twice the length of the previous longest suspension -- for flagrant unnecessary roughness. He won't be paid while he serves the suspension, effective immediately, which will cost him approximately $190,000.
"There is absolutely no place in the game, or anywhere else, for the inexcusable action that occurred in yesterday's Titans-Cowboys game," new NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said.
Haynesworth's previous problems had been hidden from attention because they took place in practice. As a sophomore at Tennessee, he fought with a teammate and left practice, returning with a long pole looking for tackle Will Ofenheusle before coach Phillip Fulmer stopped him. He was suspended for half a game.
During 2003 Titans training camp, Haynesworth kicked center Justin Hartwig, now with Carolina. Charges for a road rage incident earlier this year were dismissed.
|As he's ejected Sunday, Albert Haynesworth rages at Titans coach Jeff Fisher. (AP)|
Nashville police and the district attorney contacted the Cowboys' general counsel Monday, offering their assistance to Gurode in prosecuting Haynesworth. The Cowboys declined to comment on the suspension.
Before the suspension was announced, Gurode wasn't in the Dallas locker room. Cowboys coach Bill Parcells said the center lifted weights and could practice Wednesday. Before the suspension came down, linebacker Greg Ellis, the players union representative, said he had talked with Gurode and thinks it is worth pressing charges if things don't get properly resolved with the league.
Haynesworth was penalized and ejected from the game early in the third quarter after stomping on Gurode's head, causing his helmet to pop off, then kicking him again following a 5-yard touchdown run by Julius Jones of the Cowboys.
"What I did out there was disgusting," Haynesworth said Sunday. "It doesn't matter what the league does to me. The way I feel right now, you just can't describe it."
Titans coach Jeff Fisher said Haynesworth learned of the suspension a few minutes before the league's announcement and that the tackle was remorseful and embarrassed. But he called Haynesworth's actions unacceptable.