Harrington on Homecoming

The medical condition of Daunte Culpepper prevented the much-anticipated matchup between the quarterback and his former team on Sunday, but we get a grudge match of sorts this week with Joey Harrington returning to Detroit. The quarterback shared his thoughts on the subject with the media.

Here's what Harrington had to say.

On his feelings about facing Detroit: "I'd being lying to say it's just another game. There's obviously a bit of history, but that's what it is -- it's history. It's over and done with. I'm on a new team. I'm proud to be on a new team. I'm on a team that I love playing for. We're in the middle of a little bit of a run and we need to win this game to keep it going. As far as all of the personal issues it's not an issue for me."

On how the Dolphins offense is different from the offense he ran in Detroit and which one he prefers: "I'm a lot more comfortable with this offense. I guess that means I prefer this offense because it gives me answers. A lot of the times (in Detroit) I was left in a position to improvise. That offense was based on creativity and based on improvisation, which some quarterbacks do very well and that doesn't happen to be one of my strong suits. What I thrive in are situations where you tell me what to do and I'm going to go out and do it. It gives me answers in this offense. That's the type of football I like to play."

On whether he ever realized that he was not suited for the Detroit system while he was there: "I never thought about that because my job is to go win football games. I think the more you play the more you learn. While my experiences in Detroit weren't always the best I learned from them and I've become a better player because of it. I think you take all the good and the bad and you use it to get better in the future."

On what he learned from his years in Detroit: "I learned a lot about confidence and how it affects your play. I learned about trying to do too much for too many people. I think one of my biggest issues there is I felt like I needed to be the guy to create an identity. I needed to be the guy to create offense. I was the person that they drafted to come in and save the franchise. I was told that right from the get-go -- from the moment I arrived in Detroit it was, ‘We haven't had a quarterback since Bobby Layne and you're going to be the guy to take us to the playoffs.' I liked that role because I liked that challenge, but at the same time you have to keep things in perspective. You can't let that pressure to perform and to be something for everybody, you can't let that take you away from what your job is. When things didn't go well I lost a bit of confidence in myself. When the fans, the media and the teammates start questioning you, you naturally start to question yourself. That was something I learned, that no matter what happens you need to keep confidence in yourself."

On how the Joey Harrington playing on Thursday is different from the Joey Harrington who left Detroit: "I learned from what happened in Detroit. There's almost an ‘I don't care' attitude. No matter what happens, it doesn't matter. If I throw an interception, so be it. You're going to make mistakes during the game, but what you have to do, you have to come back and throw that same ball into that same tight window the next time. You have to do it with confidence. You can't worry about mistakes that you make. You can't worry about the situation. You can't worry about anything, other than going out and throwing the ball you need to throw. Whether that's throwing it deep post or whether that's throwing a check down to the guy in a flat, that's the only thing that can be on your mind. When you have that, ‘it doesn't matter,' or ‘I don't care' attitude –- it's going to sound weird, but it's really helped me keep my confidence."

On if he cared too much about mistakes while in Detroit: "Yeah, I cared too much about making mistakes. I tried to be too perfect. I pressed in situations. When things didn't go well I tried to create it myself. I learned that, especially with a talented group like this, just get them the ball. Get them the ball in the right situation and manage the game. If it doesn't happen then punt. Give it to a defense that's going to give it right back to us. I've learned how to manage a game. I've learned how to let the mistakes of a football game, the natural flow of the game, roll off my back. It doesn't bother me anymore."

On what kind of reception he expect from the fans in Detroit: "I don't know. We'll see on Thursday, but that's not going to change what I need to do."

On if being a backup was a determining factor to join the Dolphins: "No, not at all. What I was looking for when I came to Miami was a place where I would be valued. I said all along, ‘I want to play for an organization that values me as a player and play for a coach that's going to look you in the eye and tell you where you stand.' You may not always like what you hear, but at least you're going to get the honest truth. That's what I got here in Miami and the locker room is just a bonus. The fact that I love playing with these guys on the field is just an added bonus to that."

On if he did not receive the same respect while in Detroit: "That's all in the past. That's all in the past and I've moved beyond it."

On if he is comfortable knowing that he may have to be "that guy" later in his career: "What I've realized is nobody ever has to be that guy. There's no player in this league who can at any point in a game take control of the situation on his own. There are always 10 other guys out there that allow you to do what you do. There are times where I'm going to be more aggressive in spite of things that happen. I'm going to continue to play with confidence, but at no point am I ever going to feel like it is completely and solely up to me to make this happen."

On if he felt like that in Detroit: "Yeah, sometimes I put that pressure on myself. That's something that I've learned."

On what his low point in Detroit and if he would like to stick it to them on Thursday: "No. It's funny. Every question has been an instigating question. Honestly, it's in the past. Detroit gave me my first opportunity in the NFL and things didn't work out. Part of me really wishes that it did. I would have loved to spend a 14-, 15-year career in Detroit and help that organization turn around, but that's not how it happened. I'm here in Miami. I'm part of a team that I love. I love being part of this team. I've taken the experiences and I've taken the bumps and I've learned from and I've translated that into my play here in Miami. I couldn't be happier than where I am right now."

On if he would like to win against Detroit: "Of course I would like to win because we need to keep winning. As far as any personal vendetta, you guys are making too big a deal out of this."

On if he felt unwanted by new Lions head coach Rod Marinelli: "It was a situation where I told him how I felt. I told him the situation that had happened. I told him my feelings. I also told him that I had signed a contract and made a commitment to that team and if he wanted me to be his quarterback then I would be there for him. We sat down and talked a couple of times, three or four times actually, about it. I think he came to the decision that was best for his team at that time. It's put me here and I'm extremely happy to be here."


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