Back in 2019, Albert Haynesworth took to Instagram and shared some disturbing news that his kidney had failed and he was in desperate need of a kidney transplant.
It took over two years, but his prayers were answered in a huge way after Zach Penny drove seven hours from Crossett, Arkansas, to Nashville to donate his kidney to the former NFL defensive star.
Haynesworth, who received the transplant on April 15, was an All-Pro defensive tackle who played 10 seasons in the league after starring for three years with the Tennessee Volunteers.
“So I would like the world to meet what a real living Angel looks like,” Haynesworth wrote. “Everyone please say hello to my donor @packzenny. This kind hearted selfless human being drove seven hours from Arkansas to give me one of his kidneys! This is one of the happiest days of my life next to the birth of my kids. We need more people in this world like Zach. I’m striving to be like him.”
Penny, a 29-year-old physical therapist assistant from Arkansas, said he wanted to donate a kidney a few years ago.
“I guess there was a pressure build-up of, ‘OK, hopefully this works. Hopefully, this checks out. Hopefully, he can be healthy,’ ” Penny told the newspaper. “Of course, I knew he was going to be thankful because it’s such a big deal. But I felt relieved that it was good; that it was a successful surgery. His body was able to accept the kidney. And it makes it even better now to see … him up and moving and talking with much joy.
“There was a peace, a lift that was good,” Penny added.
In 90 games (74 starts), Haynesworth totaled 274 combined tackles, 24 sacks, 60 tackles for loss and 42 QB Hits as a member of the Tennessee Titans. He would go on to sign a huge seven-year, $100 million deal with the Washington Redskins in 2009.