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

Freeman, Coleman lift Falcons past Saints, 45-32

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Freeman, Coleman lift Falcons past Saints, 45-32

NEW ORLEANS - Devonta Freeman practically wore out the Superdome turf with one long gain after another, Tevin Coleman wouldn't be denied near the goal line and the New Orleans Saints hardly looked like the team that made an emotional homecoming nearly 10 years ago to the day.

Cheers turned to boos, and many fans filed out early.

Coleman rushed for three touchdowns, Matt Ryan passed for two TDs and Deion Jones returned an interception 90 yards for a score to help the Atlanta Falcons beat the winless New Orleans Saints 45-32 on Monday night.

"It was real fun. Everybody was doing their job and everybody was playing for each other," Coleman said. "Everything clicked, and we got it done. It's a real big win for us to beat this team here."

The game coincided with New Orleans' celebration of the 10-year anniversary of the Saints' memorable return to the Superdome on Sept. 25, 2006, 13 months after Hurricane Katrina. But there would be no reprise of New Orleans' dominant and emotional 23-3 triumph over Atlanta a decade ago.

The Saints' depleted defense struggled to slow Freeman, who rushed for 152 yards and caught five passes for 55 yards. Coleman also was effective in the passing game out of the backfield, with three receptions for 47 yards to go with his 42 yards rushing.

"We have to stop the run better," Saints coach Sean Payton said. "They were over 200 yards in situations where you knew the run was coming, even at the end of the game."

Ryan finished with 240 yards passing for Atlanta (2-1), which did not turn the ball over and moved into sole possession of first place in the NFC South.

Drew Brees put up his usual big numbers - 376 yards and three TDs passing - and hit tight end Coby Fleener seven times for 109 yards and a TD. But Brees' tipped pass that resulted in Jones' TD return early in the fourth quarter gave the Falcons a 45-25 lead that proved too much for New Orleans to overcome.