I have to admit, I'm sad to see Rodney go. Thinking back, aside from Tom Brady, I'm not sure there's a New England Patriot who has provided me with more joy and entertainment.
I wrote an expanded list at Examiner.com, which you can read here (expanded meaning "Top-Five" instead of "Top-Two").
Without further adieu, here are my two favorite Rodney Harrison moments:
2) “I had more catches than Freddie Mitchell!”
The Patriots were looking for back-to-back Super Bowl victories, but the game Philadelphia Eagles stood in the way. Leading up to the game, Eagles’ wide receiver (and future Burger King employee) Freddie Mitchell shot his mouth off about not knowing the names of anyone in the Patriots’ secondary.
That was bad enough, but then he said he had a little something for Rodney Harrison.
I guess he meant it when he said “little” because Mitchell was a non-factor in the Super Bowl. Harrison, on the other hand, was a beast. Immediately after having an interception called back due to penalty, he stopped a potential Eagles’ scoring drive by picking off McNabb.
But the most memorably play from that game was McNabb’s last pass. Rodney Harrison intercepted it, icing the game, then proceeded to run down to field flapping his arms, mocking the thousands of rowdy (and now disappointed) Eagles fans that dominated the crowd.
It’s hard to imagine a better moment for any player than that one, but there is one…
1) “Thank you for believing in me!”
The end of the Super Bowl against the Panthers was crazy. Both defenses were completely spent, and both offenses took advantage. It might have been the greatest fourth quarter in Super Bowl history.
During the Panther’s last drive, Rodney Harrison broke his arm. He knew it was broken, but the Panthers were in the hurry-up offense. Harrison couldn’t get off the field. Not only did he stay on the field, but on the next play he made the tackle, breaking his arm even worse.
Tedy Bruschi summed that sequence up nicely to the Boston Herald earlier this week:
“He broke his arm and didn’t come off the field,” Bruschi said. “He played the next play, made the tackle on the next play, and then it completely broke. For him to do that, that shows his toughness. He went and got the air cast on and said, ‘I’m not staying in here, let me go back out there.’
“And of course then there was the celebration pose, with confetti coming down and his arm in a brace. That’s the toughness of Rodney Harrison.”
THAT was Rodney Harrison. THAT was the player I loved. The whole scene ended with Harrison and Belichick embracing, Belichick telling Harrison how glad he was to have him on the team, and Harrison thanking Belichick for believing in him.
My single, all-time favorite moment as a Patriots fan.
Rodney had some down moments (the HGH issue and not being able to break up the Tyree pass in the Giants’ Super Bowl). But the great moments outweigh the bad ones, and the bad ones only proved the man was human.
Rodney Harrison: My favorite New England Patriot ever, and one of the greatest New England Patriots ever.
You will be missed.
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