NASHVILLE – It's been a tough few months for former Titans defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth, who still needs a kidney transplant and is currently undergoing dialysis treatments.
The good news is Haynesworth said he currently feels well. In fact, he felt good enough to walk from 4th Avenue South downtown, and across the bridge, to Nissan Stadium on Sunday, where he watched the NFL debut of big defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons.
It's safe to say Haynesworth left impressed.
"I was like, Wow," Haynesworth said. "I haven't seen any rookie who can do anything like that. Man, he is super strong, very powerful.
"He doesn't look like a rookie, I'll say that. He looks like a fifth year, sixth year Albert. He's going to be really, really good. I was super impressed."
Haynesworth was a monster on the defensive line for the Titans from 2002-2008, twice earning All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors while racking up 24 sacks. Haynesworth left the Titans in 2009 to join the Redskins. During his playing days, Haynesworth measured 6-foot-6, 330 pounds. He was a tough man to move.
Simmons, who's 6-4, 305, was a disruptive force in his first game with the Titans. The 19th overall pick of the NFL Draft was credited with six tackles, two quarterback pressures, a tackle for a loss, and a sack of Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers in the team's 23-20 win.
Haynesworth said he spent most of Sunday watching Tennessee's defensive linemen, especially Simmons, who played 21 snaps.
"To do what he was able to do in his first game, coming off an ACL, it's amazing really," Haynesworth said, "because he's still building his strength back and it's not all the way back yet. The one thing I did see, watching his lateral movement, is he doesn't have power in his hurt knee so he couldn't explode like he's eventually going to be able to. But as soon as he has that and he's 100 percent, he is going to be even more of a force to be reckoned with and he already is now.
"When they let him do what (former Titans defensive line coach) Jim Washburn used to say, 'Take the plow off the race horse and let him run', let him go straight ahead, he'll destroy every offensive lineman and then let the other guys work off of him.
"I can't wait to watch him develop as a player. It's going to be unbelievable."
After Sunday's game, Simmons found out Haynesworth was at the game watching him.
Haynesworth said he saw Simmons as he headed down the tunnel before the game, but the two men didn't get to speak. Haynesworth said he'd love to meet with Simmons and offer him any advice he might want.
"Somebody like him, he has a legacy with this team," Simmons said of Haynesworth. "Hopefully I get to meet him."
Haynesworth plans to be back at Nissan Stadium this Sunday for the team's Homecoming festivities when the Titans face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
In the meantime, he'll continue to wait for a kidney.
Back on July 10, Haynesworth first publicly announced his kidney failure, and he posted a picture of himself on social media in a hospital bed.
Haynesworth said he was blown away by the support and all the calls from people offering to donate a kidney, or to just ask about the process.
Haynesworth said he's lost roughly 25-30 pounds, and he's at 275 pounds for the first time since he was a junior in high school.
"Right now, I feel great, better than I have," he said. "And I have talked to people who have gotten a kidney and have given a kidney, and they say when you get a kidney, you are going to feel even better. So I am excited about that.
"But I feel like God is looking out for me, and I am keeping going. And it really has been amazing how so many people reached out offering to help."
Haynesworth said he hasn't been told anything in regards to when he might get a kidney. He said one of his best friends put in for a match and is going through testing, but he's been told he's a "back-up," because someone out there is apparently a better match. But so far, there's been no information shared with him about the possibility of a kidney transplant.
In the meantime, he continues to undergo dialysis treatments. Sadly, he said, a gentleman he got to know who was also going through dialysis recently passed away.
"It's tough, but the kindness of so many people, it is amazing," Haynesworth said. "I'm hoping not just for me, but for so many others out there that are in need of a kidney. If I get my kidney and people are willing to donate to help others, that would be great. If someone could help some of the other people I am doing dialysis with or anybody, that would be awesome because it is tough."