Beleaguered defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth is finally in the city he believes he should have come to when he first left the Tennessee Titans as a free agent.
"This is where I should have been like three years ago, but all good things come to somebody that waits," Haynesworth said after going through his first practice with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday.
The Bucs claimed Haynesworth off waivers from the New England Patriots on Wednesday, a day after he was released by the second team he has played for since leaving the Titans after 2008.
Reaction to Haynesworth's arrival in Tampa, where the Bucs are 4-4 and trying to correct their path after losing three of their last four games, was overwhelmingly positive.
"We haven't had too many rock stars around here," backup quarterback Josh Johnson said as a crowd of about two dozen reporters gathered around Haynesworth's locker following the workout.
Haynesworth acknowledged receiving an offer from the Bucs during the 2009 free agency signing period, but he said he couldn't remember how much it was for and that he eventually decided Tampa would not be a good fit.
"It was too pretty, too much water, too much sun here, and I'd just bought a big nice boat, a good fast boat, and I really felt like if I came here I'd mix my time in with football and boating," Haynesworth said.
"When I was in Tennessee, during football season I did the football and during the offseason I did the boating and did all my toys and played around and everything like that.
"But I figured with the water and the sun being here all year round I was a little afraid of myself on a Tuesday or something like that going for a boat ride. I should have trusted myself and known, but I was really kind of scared of that."
Haynesworth, a two-time All-Pro defender during his seven-year run with the Titans, has not played to that level since, first joining the Redskins, who traded him to the Patriots prior to this season.
Haynesworth said he believes, however, that coming to Tampa, where he will play in a defensive scheme similar to the one he played in at Tennessee, will greatly benefit him and the Bucs.
"It feels, great (to be playing my old position again)," said Haynesworth, who was asked to play out of position and often in a different defensive scheme while in Washington and New England.
"To be able to just get off the ball and wreak havoc, that's awesome. Everybody can say you're in a 4-3 defense, but just because you're in a 4-3 defense doesn't mean (it fits what you do), and I had to learn that the hard way."
Haynesworth and Bucs coach Raheem Morris said they are still not sure if Haynesworth will play for the Bucs this weekend against the Texans, but Haynesworth said he's ready to play if needed.
"I think I can be pretty effective," he said. "I'm an older guy and they brought me here to playy hard and teach some of the younger guys how to play.
"So I can be somewhat of a mentor and show them how that the grass ain't always greener on the other side."