Last week, Rodney Harrison made the case that there aren’t enough New England Patriots in the the Hall of Fame.
Cornerback Ty Law will become the first Patriot from the recent run of six Super Bowl wins to be enshrined in Canton.
Belichick: Rodney ‘deserves to be there’
On Monday, Bill Belichick joined in, saying Harrison himself deserves the Hall call as the Patriots inducted the two-time All Pro into the team Hall of Fame.
“Soon, hopefully, they’ll have the other Patriots in the NFL Hall of Fame," Belichick said after acknowledging Law’s pending enshrinement. "This one, Rodney Harrison, deserves to be there.”
Harrison’s Hall of Fame rant
Harrison tabbed Hall of Fame voters as “haters” last week for not enshrining Patriots players and then proceeded to list a group of players who largely don’t deserve consideration including Kevin Faulk and Troy Brown.
“It’s just unfortunate,” Harrison said. “It’s almost a form of discrimination. People don’t want to elevate us, or recognize or acknowledge how great we are because they’re such haters. Everywhere I go, people hate on the Patriots. So we don’t get credit. All I hear is Tom [Brady] and Bill [Belichick]. But that’s such a lazy analysis.”
Does Harrison belong?
Harrison himself has been nominated. But voters didn’t see Harrison fit to make this year’s list of semifinalists from which Law was chosen.
Harrison was a very good player who made two Pro Bowls over his 15-year career playing safety for the the Patriots and San Diego Chargers. He was an impact starter on two Super Bowl champions in New England.
But those aren’t accolades that necessarily add up to a gold jacket.
Belichick points to Harrison’s blitz abilities
Belichick pointed to Harrison’s versatility as a defender who was able to pressure the quarterback from the defensive backfield.
“He was a tremendous blitzer," Belichick said. “I’ll say as good a blitzer as any defensive back who has ever played the game. He was simply unblockable. If I would have blitzed him more, he would have had 75 sacks. I mean, we couldn’t block him in practice and nobody could block him in a game.”
Harrison tallied 30.5 sacks over his career, an average of two per season. He also totaled 34 interceptions, joining Ray Lewis as the only players in NFL history to tally 30-plus sacks and 30-plus interceptions.
Are sack, interception totals enough?
It’s probably his strongest calling card to make the Hall. While impressive, it’s also a bit of a random stat to base a Hall of Fame résumé upon.
The reality is that Harrison was only considered to be at the very top of his profession a couple of times during his career, and Hall voters aren’t advancing him beyond the initial round of players being considered.
Belichick might believe that Harrison deserves the call. But as of now, it doesn’t look like the people who make that decision are in agreement.
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