Part of the reason Bill Belichick and Tom Brady were able to lead the New England Patriots to so many championships was their masterful ability to beef up the roster with quality veterans. When Belichick added Rodney Harrison, it took his defense from good to historically great.
Back when the Los Angeles Chargers were in San Diego, Harrison made a name for himself as one of the game’s best defensive backs. He and Junior Seau were just about the only thing watchable with those late-90s teams.
Harrison would later trade in his losing ways in San Diego for the chance to compete for titles in New England.
Harrison picked up plenty of individual accolades for his performance to go along with two championships, but the ultimate honor of Hall of Fame induction has eluded him for some time. Support has been growing for him lately, and his old teammate thinks he’s worthy of a spot.
After former Patriots executive Scott Pioli wrote an extensive defense of Harrison’s Hall of Fame prospects, Brady chimed in with a voice of support for Harrison.
With the 15-year safety being dubbed “the original edger” by Brady due to his blitzing abilities, TB12 vouched for the Pats legend to get his deserved induction into Canton.
Should former Patriots star Rodney Harrison be in Canton?
Harrison was the first player in NFL history to record 30 sacks and 30 interceptions. He only has two Pro Bowls to his name, but with three All-Pro selections and a skill set that remains incredibly rare for even modern defensive backs to replicate, it becomes clear what a generational player he truly was.
There were so many ways Harrison was utilized. He lined up on the edge as a blitzing pass rusher, in the box as a hybrid linebacker, in the slot as a cornerback, and back deep as a DB over the top. You can count on one hand the players that can check all those boxes at an above-average level on a team that was consistently elite.
Regrettably, however, the slam-dunk candidate will not be enshrined again this year, as he failed to make the list of semifinalists that dropped Thanksgiving week. Clearly, the elders on those committees didn’t care much for Pioli’s manifesto or Brady’s support.
Whether or not Harrison eventually gets enshrined, the vicious DB seems ultimately fine with the annual results of the voting.
After all, he has something more valuable than a gold jacket.
Sure, the reunions seem nice, but the hard-hitting Harrison is in a far more impressive fraternity.
Harrison isn’t the only former Belichick-era Patriot scrambling for induction in a crowded field. Richard Seymour, who anchored Belichick’s defensive line for years, is still trying to sneak into Canton. Where’s the love for the defender that helped New England win three titles in just four seasons?
Harrison, a former fifth-round draft choice out of tiny Western Illinois, went from a backup to a dominant player on some bad teams, to an X-factor for one of the greatest dynasties in NFL history. How many stories like Harrison’s are we exposed to in our lifetime? Exactly.
And Brady is certainly not the only one who thinks Harrison deserves induction.