iOS app Android app More

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors
Danny Groner

GET UPDATES FROM Danny Groner

Patriots Gamble on Ochocinco and Haynesworth

Posted: 07/31/11 05:55 PM ET

"The Patriots were gift-wrapped Chad Ochocinco and Albert Haynesworth," this week, says David Steele at the Sporting News, a week full of frenzied free agency and big trades following the new labor deal. The Pats often take chances on players who are widely considered "viruses," hoping to provide "a curative environment, like pure oxygen or a hyperbaric chamber," says Steele. Not every team is willing to sign formerly great players whose characters and off-the-field antics have posed problems in the past. For some coaches, it's not worth the headache. "If Bill Belichick weren't already widely regarded as a genius, I'd swear he's an idiot savant," says Mike Klis in the Denver Post. Is Belichick loading up on great talents, or is he just out of his mind if he thinks he can restore these guys' success?

Hey, it works: "Strap yourselves in, Patriots fans," says Dan Shaughnessy in The Boston Globe. It's going to be a wild ride again. "Too bad The Juice is behind bars" or else they'd take him, too. This was a franchise that was "once a bastion of teamwork, character, and sanctimony," but has since turned into a place for players to rehab their flailing careers. "Tom Brady watched Corey Dillon and Randy Moss come and go in Foxborough. For the most part, those bad dudes behaved while they were in New England. Brady is open-minded about all of his new teammates."

But this is the riskiest yet: "A successful Ocho/Al experiment would be the ultimate Patriot reclamation project.," says Scott Stinson at the National Post. Ochocinco "has typically treated his coaches and teammates as actors on The Ocho Show," and Haynesworth is "an even riskier play." Inside of the Pats' defense, Haynesworth will be "a spare part, not a starter. Will he be happy as a full-time role player?" Stay tuned to find out how this ends.

It comes at the right price: "That's right. They traded for Manny Ramirez and Metta World Peace on the same day," says Jeff Jacobs in the Hartford Courant. But "if they get one good year out of Haynesworth, it'll be worth it" because they didn't have to give up much to get these guys. Haynesworth will "have plenty of chances to drop the quarterback," and also have "plenty of chances to stop being the NFL's running joke for corpulence and bad attitude."