Haynesworth not (yet) suspended, returns in pads

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Haynesworth not (yet) suspended, returns in pads

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com Celtics Insider
Follow @sherrodbcsn
FOXBORO There was an Albert Haynesworth sighting -- in pads -- at the New England Patriots' practice on Tuesday.

But it remains a mystery as to when the All-Pro will actually play in a game for the Pats.

In the past, it has been his health and conditioning at issue. Now, it's a potential suspension by the NFL that is of a greater concern.

Haynesworth, who spent the last two seasons with the Washington Redskins, was in Washington on Monday where he entered a plea of no contest on simple assault charges stemming from an incident at a D.C. hotel on Feb. 13 in which he was accused of fondling a waitress' breast as he slid his credit card into her blouse.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick was asked about potential punishment for Haynesworth.

"Whatever the league does, they'll announce," Belichick said.

By entering the no contest plea to the lesser charge, Haynesworth avoided a sexual abuse trial in which he could have been looking at potential jail time.

As part of Hayneworth's plea agreement, he will serve 160 hours of community service. If he completes his community service and stays trouble-free for 18 months, prosecutors have agreed to drop the charges. In addition, the Washington Post reported that Haynesworth also agreed to an alcohol abuse assessment and a psychological assessment as part of the plea deal.

The sexual abuse case was just the latest setback for Haynesworth, who has missed the bulk of preseason practice, keeping him from becoming familiar with the Patriots system.

"It helps every player to be out there in practice," Belichick said. "If it didn't, why would we practice?"

The 30-year-old Haynesworth is with his third NFL team, having spent the past nine seasons with Tennessee (2002-2008) and Washington (2009-2010).

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Pats' secondary coach: Butler 'is never going to give up the fight'

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Pats' secondary coach: Butler 'is never going to give up the fight'

FOXBORO -- Though he’s still fresh-faced, Patriots cornerback coach Josh Boyer has been on Bill Belichicks’ staff for a dozen years, including the last six presiding over the likes of Darrelle Revis, Aqib Talib, Brandon Browner and Logan Ryan. In all that time, he’s never seen anyone play the position as competitively as Malcolm Butler.

“I would say that’s unique,” Boyer told me today. “It’s one of those things that whether something happens right, wrong or indifferent on that play, you know he’s always gonna be competitive. I think that’s an attribute to just his personal makeup . . . I think all of our guys are competitive but Malcolm is never going to give up the fight no matter what stands in his way or what obstacles he has. He’s always going to be competitive.”

Butler had a unsettling offseason that actually traced all the way back to an in-season contract negotiation that came close but never got completed. When that offer remained the same, and then Stephon Gilmore was paid massive dollars on day one of free agency, Butler, a restricted free agent, shopped himself. But with New Orleans and other teams unwilling to pay the price of a first-round pick, Butler decided he had no choice and returned to Foxboro somewhat reluctantly.

"Can't predict the future," Butler said back on May 25. "Whatever happens, happens."

While Butler wouldn’t commit to wanting to be a Patriot long term, he has made every effort to once again establish himself as the team’s best cornerback while not letting an unsettling contractual situation play play havoc with his on-field performance.

“You guys probably talk about a lot of stuff that we never talk about so we’re just, I’ll give Malcolm credit,” said Boyer, “He’s here. He works hard. We don’t ever talk about other outside issues. It’s all football and I think his focus -- I talked to him yesterday when he was in the building -- he’s excited to be back, excited to work, excited to see what this season holds for him.”