https://www.si.com/nfl/2020/01/16/albert-haynesworth-needs-kidney-aftermath-of-andre-gurode-stomp The event for which many will never forgive Albert Haynesworth came on Oct. 1, 2006. Cowboys guard Andre Gurode was the man tasked with standing across from him that afternoon, and the trouble started, in Haynesworth’s telling, when Gurode clipped his knees from behind and boasted, “I’m trying to put your *** out.” Haynesworth says he saw red from that point on. He remembers a coach yelling from the sideline, “You better kill that mother------!” “And then it was just like a switch,” Haynesworth says. “I can’t remember.” What he does remember is late in the game coming into the Titans’ home locker room, empty except for an equipment staffer, and seeing himself on an endless TV replay loop. There he was, pushing off Gurode’s helmet following a Cowboys rushing touchdown, right leg raising off the ground and stabbing downward purposefully and forcefully into the lineman’s face. In the locker room, all Haynesworth could think was, Oh, s---. I lost it. Gurode has his own memories. He says today that the injury at first felt like a scratch, even though he knew he’d been stepped on; even though he could feel blood gushing into his eye, blurring his vision. When he realized what had happened he says his next instinct was to attack Haynesworth, but when he tried to stand up he could feel a weight pushing him back down. He looked into that later, watched the replay on TV, and saw no one. His interpretation, which he still believes: This was God at work, giving him the strength of calm. God was no help with the pain, though. Team doctors applied a numbing agent through a needle and threaded 30 stitches into Gurode’s cheek. He wanted to return to the game (but did not). He wanted to talk to Haynesworth, to understand. He wanted—even on the flight home, as his head throbbed like he’d been “hit by a baseball bat on both sides at the same time”—to take his attacker to church. Gurode says he reached Haynesworth a day later and asked, “Man, what did I do to you?” “You didn’t do anything,” replied Haynesworth, who did publicly express immediate remorse. Who did apologize. Who did accept without appeal or complaint the NFL’s five-game suspension, at the time the longest ever for an on-field incident. Haynesworth says he knew even then that he’d spend the rest of his life trying to live down that moment. What he didn’t yet know was how it would benefit him. Back on the field he saw fear in linemen’s eyes, saw elite players avoid him or shy away from contact. The net effect, he says: The incident elevated his play to another level, and that only complicates his feelings as he looks back. He crossed a line in unprecedented fashion. He deserved everything that everybody said about him. He felt terrible. And yet the stomp made him stronger, too. Did he want forgiveness? Not more than he wanted to win a Super Bowl. Not then, when everything still seemed possible. Before it all fell apart.