Haynesworth: Time for 'sleeping giant' to awake

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Haynesworth: Time for 'sleeping giant' to awake

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com Staff Reporter Follow @dannypicard
FOXBORO --Albert Haynesworth wasnt happy with his situation inWashington the last two seasons. Thats no secret.

But as Mondays regular-season opener in Miami nears for thePatriots, everyone in the football world is ready to see what Haynesworth willbring to New Englands defensive line this season.

Hes pretty clear on what he wants to do.

I think its time for me, and for the sleeping giant toawake, and to go back out there on the field and play football again, said Haynesworthin front of his locker at Gillette Stadium, prior to Thursdays practice.

A pretty powerful comment, to say the least.

At 6-foot-6, 350 pounds, Haynesworth is a giant. And for thelast two seasons, hes felt like hes been a non-factor.

So to hear him call for the sleeping giant to awake withno sense of comedy attached to it, is quite a statement, just days away fromhis first meaningful game with the Patriots.

Haynesworth said that hes still a little bit rusty andthat he still has some work to do, in order to get where he wants to be. Butthat doesnt mean there hasnt been improvement by the day.

Maybe the fact that hes improving isnt a surprise. Maybeits the fact that the past two seasons havent allowed for many football fansand critics to buy into the fact that hes willing to put in the time to makethose improvements.

On a day in which the Patriots chose six captains for theseason, Haynesworth described his hard work as a product of the familyenvironment in the Patriots locker room.

For two years, I was kind of taken out of football a littlebit, and now Im back in it, and am truly enjoying the game again, and trulyenjoy coming in to practice and coming in to work every day, said Haynesworth.Just to be able to have the chance again to play and to show what I can do, isawesome.

Its not like the last two years, he said. That was alittle different. The captains or whatever were almost above the team inWashington. Here, with Mayo and Vince, you can go up and talk to those guys.

Thats not saying you couldnt do that in D.C., but here,its really like a family in the locker room. Everybodys for you. No matterwhat happens, say that guy does something or whatever, it doesnt matter, wereall behind him. Were not going to pass judgment or anything like that. Itsall about everybody being for you, and everybody having your back.

And when that sleeping giant awakes, it sounds like hesalso going to have theirs.

Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.

Collins gets his pay day as Patriots prepare for Super Bowl

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Collins gets his pay day as Patriots prepare for Super Bowl

NFL Siberia can’t be all that bad. The Cleveland Browns have signed Jamie Collins to an extension that keeps him off the free agent market.

The former Patriot, stunningly shipped out of town on Halloween, has agreed to a reported four-year, $50 million deal with $26M in guaranteed money.

As eyebrow-raising as the move was at the time, this is an all’s well that ends well story.

Collins, a reluctant Patriot once it came clear the team wouldn’t to aim a confetti cannon of money at him, gets the desired big-dough deal. He didn’t drape himself in glory with his level of play this year in New England, but his agitation over making $900K this year was understandable.

The Patriots -- who made the deal not knowing exactly how it would work out with Collins’ fleet of replacements (primarily rookie Elandon Roberts and, October acquisition Kyle Van Noy) -- have played better defense since Collins has been gone and are headed to the Super Bowl.

Would they have been better if Collins stayed? The answer to that is a question: Which version of Collins, the irked one or the motivated one?

Collins did nothing to veil his desire for a huge contract, saying at the end of the season he’d stay with the hapless Browns if the money was right. Now that he’s decided the money was right, what kind of Collins will the Browns get? With $26M guaranteed, the Browns have tethered themselves to the 27-year-old Collins for a chunk of his prime. The shorter term is ideal for Collins because -- if he performs to his capability -- he’ll be able to see another lucrative deal before he’s too aged.

The deal will certainly be noticed by Collins’ former teammates, primarily Donta Hightower who will be a free agent at the end of the season.

The Patriots could franchise Hightower (last year’s tag number was more than $14M) but that’s not going to be ideal for either side. Hightower will want to get the windfall of guaranteed money that comes with a long-term deal and the Patriots may be reluctant to pay that much to a player that’s got an injury history and plays one of the game’s most violent positions.

A lot’s going to happen between now and the time the Patriots have to make their decision. A good deal of it will happen in the next 12 days. If Hightower stealthily saves the Super Bowl as he did in 2014 with his first-down tackle on Marshawn Lynch … how do you put a price on that?