by Brian Tinsman

WASHINGTON — It’s fair to say that Albert Haynesworth’s time in Washington didn’t go according to plan.

Whether it was the infamous conditioning staredown with head coach Mike Shanahan, the unwillingness to switch positions, the assault and subsequent lawsuits, the infamous flops, or his unceremonious departure for a fifth-round pick; his 29 months in Washington–and nearly six years since–are a bizarre, epic saga.

One that almost had a tragic and equally unexpected conclusion.

On Thursday, Haynesworth revealed to 104.5 The Zone in Nashville that he had potentially lethal brain aneurysms not long after his playing days ended.

“Nobody really knows: I almost died,” he said. “I had two brain aneurysms that were nearly rupturing. I went and talked to my doctor in Florida, and he was like, ‘Man, your blood pressure is through the roof. I’m going to admit you.’

“They did a lot of tests and found the aneurysm that was rupturing at that point.”

The procedure placed him in intensive care for 11 days in November, 2014, and has had lasting effects on his memory and cognitive function.

“I’ve been OK. It’s really hard to remember, and I’m not saying that just because of the concussion thing,” he explained. “A lot of things, I just can’t remember. I don’t feel as sharp as I used to as far as problem-solving and answering questions and things.”

The episode offers some context for his infamous “Letter to My Younger Self” published in The Players Tribune in July, 2015. That piece, allegedly penned by Haynesworth, reflected on the error of his ways in leaving the Tennessee Titans to pursue a record contract with the Washington Redskins.

“The $100 million will become a huge burden. Take less and stay in Tennessee where you belong,” he wrote. “You will lose your passion for football in Washington, and it will be impossible to get back.”

The article is nearly 1,900 words long, which makes Haynesworth’s final statement on Thursday all the more perplexing.

“It sounds crazy, but sometimes, writing my own name, I kind of forget the signature of how I normally write,” he said. “Or sending long texts, my words get backwards. It’s crazy, but hopefully as time goes on, I get better.”

 

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