Tuesday night (June 2, 2009 - my birthday), I received an e-mail from the Boston Globe Newsletter:
According to a source with knowledge of his plans, Rodney Harrison will announce tomorrow that he is retiring after 15 seasons -- the last six with the Patriots -- to pursue a broadcast career as part of NBC Sports' NFL coverage.
Wednesday morning, Rodney Harrison announced his retirement on a conference call saying, "I'm done and I'm very much at peace with that. Football has been good to me. I worked hard and I played hard".
Rodney was a huge influence in the New England locker room and was named a defensive captain as soon as he arrived six years ago. Harrison's voice and hard hitting plays helped bring the Patriots two Super Bowl victories while he played for them. Rodney Harrison will not only be known for what he did on the field for New England, but even more so what he did for the Patriots spirit and leadership abilities behind the scenes and on the sidelines. Harrison will be remembered for his tough, intense play and is a role model for young safeties around the world.
A Dirty Player
Around the NFL, Rodney Harrison has been called a cheap shot artist and dirty player. In his announcement, Harrison said:
People have called me a dirty player. I'm a very passionate player. I also understand that this is not volleyball. This is a very violent, physical game, and if you hit someone in the mouth, they're not going to be your friend. That's what the game of football is.
Being a strong safety myself, I have to agree with Rodney about his level of intensity and hard physical hitting. Players around the league call him dirty because they don't play on his team. A player like Rodney Harrison who is going to come out and hit you as hard as he can on every play isn't a dirty player. He's a determined player that is going to do his best to make sure he puts everything on the line to make sure you don't get that yard and his team wins.
The only part of Rodney's career that I would consider calling him dirty about is in 2007 when he was suspended for testing positive for a banned substance. Harrison also commented on his use of performance enhancing drugs during his retirement speech:
I had so much pride about trying to do things right. I made such a huge mistake in that situation and disappointed so many people, including myself. When I made that mistake, I wanted other guys and kids to learn from that.
Hard hits are not dirty in the NFL, but testing positive for performance enhancing drugs, I don't know how clean of a player you are at that point. Similar to how I feel if a certain other player who brought Boston two championships used PED's, I'm jumping to the home side of the fence.
Hall of Famer
Rodney Harrison is the only defensive back in the NFL to have both 30 sacks and 30 interceptions. Rodney won two Super Bowls with the New England Patriots and made it to two Pro Bowls in his 15 year career. I don't know if that solo record and his statistics alone are enough to get the hardest hitting safety into the Hall of Fame, but as I would say for anyone else who played on championship teams in Boston, they're in my hall of fame.
Thanks to patriotworld for the picture of Rodney Harrison.
What are your thoughts on Rodney Harrison? Do you think he should be in the Hall of Fame, why or why not? Let us know in the comments section.