Before Rodney Harrison became the 29th member of the Patriots Hall of Fame on Monday, July 29, he stopped by the Hall for a Speaker Series event. Rodney spent the night mingling with Patriots Nation, signing autographs and answering questions from fans in the audience. From his perceived reputation as a dirty player to his passion for beating the Indianapolis Colts, here are five things we learned from our newest inductee:
1. If you thought playing in 4 Super Bowls and endless tough playoff games were Rodney’s favorite moments, you may be mistaken.
Rodney reflected on the amazing moments around each Super Bowl and the unforgettable snowy AFC Championship games, but his favorite games were… “Anytime we kicked the Colts butt”
2a. Welcome to New England.
Coming to New England after being released from the Chargers, earning his teammates respect was an immediate goal for Rodney. “I knew I was coming to play here with Ty [Law] and Tedy [Bruschi] and Willie [McGinest]. That’s partly why I chose to come here. I wanted to come in and show them how good of a player I was.” That drive came at the expense of teammates Troy Brown and Kevin Faulk. After a few tough collisions and a fight during practice, Willie pulled Rodney aside and said. “Rod, we get it man. But we need these guys, they’re good football players.”
2b. Leader on arrival.
After a few practice brawls, Rodney had his teams’ respect. With high energy practices and great football intelligence, he quickly earned the coaches respect as well. That is represented through his nomination as a team captain in his first season with the Patriots. “I just wanted to be respected, to protect my teammates and to make sure I help put them in a better position to have success.” Rodney explained, “It really showed that a coach, like coach Bill, would trust me so much to name me captain.”
3. Rodney has always been a tough player.
Rodney had a hard hitting, tough reputation which began when he was just 6 years old and continued through his San Diego days. Nothing changed once he arrived in Foxborough. A leader in the defensive backfield struck fear into all opponents, especially those who dared to catch passes over the middle of the field. “I was a nice guy off the field, but once I got on that field I wanted to knock your head off.”
4. Out of all the records and stats Rodney owns, which is most important to him?
Rodney Harrison’s career is full of various accolades and impressive accomplishments. A six-time team captain, 7 postseason interceptions (3rd most in NFL history), 30.5 sacks (most by a defensive back in NFL history), 30 sacks and 30 interceptions (the only defensive back in NFL history to have 30/30), a member of the Patriots 2000s All-Decade team and a member of the Patriots 50th anniversary team. With all of the impressive numbers, his favorite stat after 15 years in the NFL “I am a 2-time Super Bowl Champion.”
5. What is next for Rodney?
After retirement, when his playing days were over, Rodney decided to stick with what he loved, communication and the game of football. Rodney has taken his football knowledge and has applied it to a very successful broadcasting career as a studio analyst on Football Night in America and a host on his own sports radio show Safety Blitz with Rodney Harrison and Dan Schwartzman. With several options available for the remainder of Rodney’s career, whether it is coaching, broadcasting or a new venture in life, one goal has stuck with him from his early playing career. “I want to go back to school and finish my degree.”