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Albert Haynesworth: Time for ‘the sleeping giant to awaken’

09.08.11 at 12:40 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Albert Haynesworth feels like he’s ready to go.

On Thursday morning, the Patriots defensive tackle said he’s prepared to play in New England’s regular-season opener Monday night against the Dolphins in Miami, saying he’s “feeling good” about where he is at this stage of the season, especially compared to where he was last year.

“Last year. I didn’t think I was going to play. I was on a lot of scout team,” he said. “Now, I’m in the system and I’m playing and practicing, and I think it’s time for me, the sleeping giant, to awaken and to go back out there on the field and play football again.”

“He is a giant. He is a giant,” said Shaun Ellis with a laugh when asked about his 6-foot-6, 335-pound teammate. “Albert’s a pro. Pro’s adapt to whatever they have to go through. I think he’ll be all right.”

The 30-year-old Haynesworth, who struggled the last two seasons with the Redskins, played in just one preseason, but he sees the chance to play for the Patriots as something that’s rejuvenated his career.

“For two years, I was kind of taken out of football a little bit,” he said. “Now, I’m back in it and I’m triuly enjoying the game again. I’m truly enjoying coming into practice or coming in to work every day. Just to be able to have a chance again to play and show what I can do is awesome.

“I’m feeling good. I talked to my coaches and they said, ‘Since they day you got in here, you’ve been improving and getting better.’ I still have work to do to get where I want to be but it’s coming along great.”

Haynesworth said the assimilation process has been made easier by having the opportunity to work with acquaintances like Ellis, Vince Wilfork and Andre Carter, three guys who he’s had the opportunity to play alongside before.

“It’s been amazing,” Haynesworth said. “I’ve played with Andre in D.C. for two years and actually Shaun in college and Vince at the Pro Bowl. But I never could have dreamed or imagined that we’d all be on the same team and be out there chasing the quarterback and looking to kill the quarterback.”

Haynesworth also said Thursday he likes the scheme and the environment more than he did when he was in Washington.

“It shows a difference … or it makes a huge difference when you can come in and feel good about coming in the door (instead) of walking in the door and looking behind your back and all that stuff and who you talk to. You can talk to anybody here,” he said. “If you ever go to work hating your job, you’re not going to perform at your best. But if you enjoy coming to work and if you enjoy being around the people that you work with, you give it your all.”

Read More: Albert Haynesworth, Andre Carter, Shaun Ellis, Vince Wilfork
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