Albert Haynesworth is excited about having an opportunity to rekindle his career.
The 350-pound defensive tackle practiced with the Buccaneers for the first time yesterday, saying he’s motivated to leave behind two-plus disappointing seasons with the Redskins and Patriots and prove he can still be a productive player.
Haynesworth, who was claimed off waivers Wednesday, is expected to play Sunday against the Texans.
“I think I can be pretty effective,’’ said the 30-year-old Haynesworth. “I’m an older guy. I think they brought me here to play hard and also to teach some of the younger guys how to play, be somewhat of a mentor . . . and show them the grass ain’t always greener on the other side.’’
The 10th-year pro developed into one of the league’s top defensive linemen during seven seasons with the Titans, but has underperformed since rejecting an offer from Tampa Bay as a free agent in 2009 and signing a seven-year, $100 million deal with the Redskins. The Patriots obtained him in a July trade, but Haynesworth had little impact.
“It was a great place. Coach [Bill] Belichick is a great guy [with] a good system. But I just wanted to play more,’’ Haynesworth said. “I wanted to practice more, get more reps. The more reps, the more plays I get, the better I’ll get. I just wasn’t getting a lot of reps, so they made the decision to let me go.’’
He’s optimistic about the prospect of reviving his career with the Bucs, who are counting on him to help fill the void created by the loss of Gerald McCoy, who is out for the season with a torn right biceps.
Coach Raheem Morris and general manager Mark Dominik believe Haynesworth still has the talent to excel in a 4-3 defensive scheme after struggling in 3-4 systems.
“This is where I should have been like three years ago. But I think good things come to somebody that waits,’’ Haynesworth said, confirming that Tampa Bay made an offer in free agency without recalling the terms.
He did remember the biggest concern he had about joining the Bucs then. “You want me to be honest? It was too pretty, too much water, too much sun,’’ he said. “I had just bought a nice big boat . . . and I really thought if I came here I’d mix my time between football and boating.’’
Players float HGH plan
The NFL players’ union proposed conducting a study of players that reflects the natural level of HGH in their systems, but the idea was quickly blasted by experts and the NFL.
The union has claimed its players might have a higher natural level of human growth hormone than the general population, and it also has balked at testing procedures approved by the World Anti-Doping Agency that the league has recommended. Instead, the NFLPA is proposing “a comprehensive HGH testing program that begins with a population study’’ of players to establish a test standard “that accurately reflects the population of NFL players.’’
When the lockout ended in the summer, the collective bargaining agreement included provisions for HGH testing if the union approved the process. Instead, the NFLPA has asked for more information, which it says it has not received.
A league spokesman said of the union’s suggestion: “The proposal is deficient in numerous respects and consistent with the NFLPA’s ongoing strategy to delay testing as long as possible.’’
Anti-doping experts say there’s no need for a separate population study for NFL players because tests performed by the World Anti-Doping Agency before the HGH test was brought to market included scores of samples from football players and others with similar body types.
“The fact that they’re saying this now is an absolute joke,’’ said US Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart, who has been working with both sides to get the test in place. “It seems clear now they’re protecting their dirty players by further delaying the implementation of this test and not honoring the agreement they made to start this test at the beginning of the season.’’
Kolb grounded by turf
Despite insisting there has been “dramatic improvement’’ in his right turf toe injury, Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb failed to practice again, seemingly decreasing the likelihood he will be able to start Sunday against the Eagles. John Skelton could be headed for his second straight start, although coach Ken Whisenhunt raised the possibility that there could be a game-time decision to dress Kolb as the backup against his former team, even if he is unable to practice for the second week in a row . . . King Dunlap, a 6-foot-9-inch tackle by trade, is on target to start for the Eagles at left guard in place of injured Evan Mathis.
Panthers lose LBs
James Anderson, the Panthers’ starting strongside linebacker, rolled his ankle in practice, leaving the team with four healthy linebackers. Earlier in the week, Thomas Williams became the third linebacker to go on injured reserve after injuring his neck in a loss to Minnesota, while backup Jason Phillips has missed both practices this week with a calf injury . . . T.J. Ward missed his second day of practice, his foot remains immobilized inside a cast, and coach Pat Shurmur said there’s a “very good chance’’ the Browns’ starting strong safety will not play Sunday against the Rams. It is the latest blow for the Browns, who had eight players sit out practice with four others limited. Wideout Mohamed Massaquoi continues to have post-concussion symptoms, and he was sent home for the second straight day after not feeling well . . . Quarterback Tony Romo believes his broken rib is healed and he may be ready to shed the protective vest he has been wearing for nearly two months when the Cowboys host Buffalo Sunday . . . The Seahawks activated wide receiver Deon Butler after a nearly yearlong recovery from a broken right leg.