FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Albert Haynesworth’s first practice with the New England Patriots was uneventful — other than the fact he was on the field just a couple days into training camp.
Haynesworth made his Patriots debut during a walkthrough Sunday, then donned his pads for limited contact drills in the afternoon. Whereas he was just an observer in the morning, Haynesworth delighted fans later when he blasted through the offensive line deep into the backfield on a couple of plays.
He also got his share of rest after lumbering up and down the practice field in the afternoon heat.
The fact that he was out there at all was a positive sign for the Patriots, who picked up the defensive lineman in a trade with the Washington Redskins on Friday.
Haynesworth missed the early part of training camp last year with the Redskins after repeatedly failing his conditioning test. He missed Saturday’s practice for undisclosed reasons, but was on the field for Sunday morning’s workout.
Fans didn’t seemed worried about Haynesworth’s spotted reputation as they clamored for his autograph after the morning session.
Haynesworth may not be too far behind some of his new teammates thanks to the lockout, which wiped out official offseason training sessions.
Haynesworth is getting a crash course in the defense and etiquette expected under coach Bill Belichick, who has a history of getting players with troubled pasts to quietly walk the line in New England.
Receiver Chad Ochocinco, New England’s other headliner with some baggage coming into training camp, also participated in the walkthrough and is already impressing his new teammates.
“I think we should be good. Chad’s a great, proven player,” receiver Deion Branch said. “The stuff they threw at him, I think he’s done a great job of picking it up. The stuff that he’s sliding on, we’re going to try our best to help him out here and there. So far he hasn’t needed it, so that’s a good sign.”
Ochocinco, who has vowed to keep a lower profile than his flamboyant days with the Cincinnati Bengals, did not speak Sunday.
That’s probably just fine with the Patriots. Ochocinco said plenty Saturday when he spoke to reporters for the first time as a member of the Patriots.
Whatever his new profile is, the Patriots like the addition so far.
“The more the better. You add more quality, the better the team will be,” Branch said. “This guy’s a proven player. He’s a great player and we’re glad to have him.”
Branch, a 10-year veteran, said the Patriots have had a lot of success following Belichik’s strict approach to keeping the news coming out of the locker room as vanilla as possible, and he expects Ochocinco and Haynesworth to catch on quickly.
“Guys are pretty straightforward. Don’t do a whole lot of nothing,” Branch said. “We’re boring players. We’re boring until we get home around your family and stuff. This is all about business around here. Come in and do your job.”