After an unceremonious end to his NFL career, Albert Haynesworth is hoping he will have better luck in the culinary industry.
The former All-Pro defensive tackle plans to open a burger joint this September near the campus of his alma mater, the University of Tennessee. The restaurant will be a new franchise of BurgerFi, a Florida-based chain specializing in gourmet-quality beef.
“I’m a big guy, so I eat a lot, and I’m not going to just jump on some place because I know somebody,” Haynesworth told KnoxNews.com. “But the food is unbelievable. It’s the best burger I think I’ve ever had.”
At 6-foot-6, 335 pounds, Haynesworth was dominant at times early in his career, earning consecutive Pro Bowl nods in 2007 and 2008, but his run-stuffing ability was often overshadowed by his temper.
The most visible instance of this came in 2006, when Haynesworth, then with the Titans, stomped down on the exposed face of Cowboys center Andre Gurode during a play. The incident left Gurode with 30 stitches and Haynesworth with a five-game suspension, though many pundits argued in favor of a longer ban.
This behavior, coupled with off-the-field legal issues, has left Haynesworth with a rather dubious reputation — one that he shrugs off as a side effect of success.
“When you’re successful a lot of people are going to come after you. … A lot of people call it haters,” he said. “If you’ve got haters, that means you’re doing something right.”
If his Knoxville location is successful, Haynesworth said he would not be opposed to opening additional franchises in the future.