What made Rodney Harrison decide to bring this chapter of his life to a close? Was it more time with his family? Was it injuries? Was it a body slow to recover from Sunday's pounding? Or, was it all of the above? Whatever it was that finally made his mind up, #37 can leave the field, turn that motor off knowing full well he did it better than most.
Rodney Harrison could be the last in a breed of warriors, men who play every moment like it's their last one on the field, because you never know when it really WILL be the last. Harrison played every down to its fullest, leaving everything he had on the field and he did it for the love of the game, for his teammates, and for his fans. He is loved by those same teammates and fans, but hated by those who had the bad luck of playing against him. Harrison was the scariest kind of player, the kind that's both smart and physical, a player who not so much protected his area, but prowled his turf and made the unwary pay for entering.
He was hated and despised by rivals. Maybe Harrison was 20 years too late; maybe he would've fit just fine on a team in the 70's or 80's, when hardnosed football was the norm. Who knows. All I know is rivals and rival fans alike will be ripping their hair out when #37 Rodney Harrison is inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame. $200,000 worth of fines and numerous peer dirty player "awards" cannot erase one simple fact:
Rodney Harrison is the ONLY NFL player in the history of the game to amass 30.5 sacks and 34 interceptions.
He has so many records, it's hard to list them all, but the one above stands alone. There may be controversy when his name comes up for a bust in Canton. Heck, he may not make it the first time around. But it'll be hard to ignore one simple truth: he was one of the best safteys to ever play the game. Loved or hated, one fact can't be denied: Rodney Harrison defined the position of safety. Dictionary...Safety...picture of Rodney Harrison. Anything else?
So, maybe it was the heart strings of family or the draw of the commentator headset. Maybe it was the rules changes Rodney felt softened the game and ironically, were brought on by plays against two of his former teammates, Tom Brady and Wes Welker. Who knows. What I DO know is that he left it all on the field; that can't be denied. I also know that many teams are breathing a sigh of relief because Harrison will no longer be stalking them. Anyone left is a distant second.
He was simply the best.