The Buccaneers claimed Albert Haynesworth off waivers yesterday, one day after the two-time Pro Bowl selection was released by the Patriots.
General manager Mark Dominik made the announcement, saying the Bucs more than likely would not have been interested in giving Haynesworth an opportunity to revive his career if Tampa Bay (4-4) had not lost second-year pro Gerald McCoy for the season this week because of a torn right biceps.
“I would say candidly that if Gerald wasn’t hurt right now, I probably wouldn’t do this move,’’ said Dominik. “But because of the situation we’re in, I felt Albert Haynesworth has the best ability of any defensive tackle out there. For us and for me, it made sense as an organization to bring him on board.’’
The Bucs also were in discussions with Haynesworth the night he signed his big deal with the Redskins in 2009. Despite the tackle’s struggles since then, Dominik thinks the 10th-year pro can be an effective player again because Tampa Bay runs a 4-3 defense instead of the 3-4 alignments Haynesworth was asked to play in Washington and New England.
“I think the thing I’m going to bank on a little bit here is our defense and what we ask [his position] to do,’’ Dominik said. “Over the last couple of seasons, he’s been in more of a 3-4 defense and two-gapping. I think he’s always felt like he’s a one-gap penetrator. The timing was what it was, and it made sense to us to put the claim in.’’
McCoy was placed on injured reserve Monday, and the player the Bucs initially signed to replace him - John McCargo - was released yesterday to free up a roster spot for Haynesworth.
“I have had a chance to talk to him already,’’ Dominik said. “As you would hope, he’s excited and fired up. He asked, how soon can we get him a flight? He said he wants to get in tonight, so he can go to practice tomorrow. Those were his words. That’s very encouraging.’’
Clark fined $40,000
Ryan Clark’s first fine this season for an illegal hit drew nothing but a remorseful nod from the Steelers safety.
The second - for a violent collision with Ravens tight end Ed Dickson last Sunday night - drew his wrath.
“This is the worst, period, point blank,’’ Clark said.
Clark was flagged for unnecessary roughness and the 15-yard penalty helped the Ravens end the half with a Billy Cundiff field goal on their way to a 23-20 victory.
The next day, the league hit Clark with a $40,000 penalty for what Clark felt was a perfectly normal play.
“There wasn’t anything malicious about it,’’ Clark said. “It wasn’t a spear. It wasn’t a forearm to the head. It wasn’t any of those things, and to be fined $40,000 for that? To me it’s either targeting me as a single player or it’s targeting this team.’’
The Steelers have been fined 13 times for more than $182,000 this season, with Clark’s latest the biggest of the bunch.
Meanwhile, Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis says he was fined an undisclosed amount by the NFL for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Steelers receiver Hines Ward in that game.
Ward was dazed by the collision and helped off the field. He did not return.
Commissioner Roger Goodell said he’s optimistic that testing for HGH can begin this season, but is “disappointed’’ with the slow movement by the players’ union. “We agreed to it,’’ he said. “We think it’s the right thing to do for player safety, we think it’s important for the credibility of the game, we think it’s important as a message to kids who not only play our game, but play any game. You shouldn’t be taking performance-enhancing drugs and HGH is certainly something we need to be testing for.’’ The league and NFLPA tentatively agreed in the contract that ended the lockout to implement testing for human growth hormone. But the union had to approve testing procedures and has not done so, saying it wants more information. “I’m disappointed. Never discouraged,’’ Goodell said . . . Raiders running back Darren McFadden will sit out tonight’s game in San Diego because of a lingering ankle sprain. McFadden was not at yesterday’s walkthrough and has not practiced since injuring his right foot in the first quarter of a loss to the Chiefs Oct. 23. Michael Bush will start in place of McFadden . . . Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb, who is suffering from turf toe on his right foot, acknowledged that Sunday’s meeting with the Eagles, his former team, is no ordinary game to him, and that means his pain tolerance will be higher than usual. Kolb says he wants to play “at all cost.’’ Injured two games ago at Baltimore, Kolb didn’t practice last week and sat out last Sunday’s overtime victory over St. Louis . . . The Rams activated receiver Mark Clayton from the physically unable to perform list, and he could see action on Sunday. His comeback from a knee injury has been hampered by an Achilles’ tendon injury, but he’s felt better over the last week or so . . . Titans safety Chris Hope returned to practice for the first time since breaking his left forearm Oct. 2.