PHOTO: New England Patriots safety Rodney Harrison offers his comments to reporters on the recent remarks of Indianapolis Colts kicker Mike Vanderjagt concerning the Patriots' playoff abilities, in front of his locker. Harrison was also interviewed this week regarding the remarks of Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Freddie Mitchell. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)
Ive got something for you Harrison when I meet you, too.
There are many possible explanations as to what was going through Philadelphia Eagle wide receiver Freddie Mitchells head when he called out one of the most talented, intense, and punishing safeties in the game to a personal duel. Especially one on the biggest stage professional sports has to offer. Maybe it was a perennial backup trying to escape the shadow that teammate Terrell Owens casts from atop the depth chart. Maybe it was a former first-round draft pick trying to recapture some of the spotlight that an undistinguished career hasn't been able to capture itself. Maybe it was just a guy who is used to anonymity just grasping for something to say when faced with a national audience.
Whatever the reason, whatever the motive, Freddie Mitchell managed to become the only one to give the Patriots a reason to play the disrespect card. Vegas wouldnt do it, the national media couldnt do it, every other player on the Philadelphia Eagles knew better than to do it. Mitchell must have missed the memo.
When asked about Mitchells comments, Rodney Harrison responded as one would expect: Freddie who?
Its pretty funny from a guy that doesnt even start unless someone goes down, said the Patriots safety, Was he a former first-round pick? And still hasnt broken into the starting lineup. Means a lot coming from him.
Harrisons evaluation is well-founded. In four seasons, Mitchell has started 16 games; 9 of which came this year with Terrell Owens injury vacating one spot on the depth chart. Despite this seasons increased playing time, Mitchells numbers remain unimpressive. His 22 receptions and 2 touchdowns are only good enough for 6th best on his team. So why would this player, one who is the epitome of NFL mediocrity, decide to disrespect a player like Rodney Harrison?
Perhaps one explanation is that his was the only name Mitchell knew from the New England secondary. During the same interview, Mitchell could not produce a single name of a cornerback on the team he would be facing in the Super Bowl. What does Harrison think of Mitchells total lack of regard for his teammates?
It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter. That's not how the game's determined, win or lose. It doesn't matter. Right now, this is his 30 seconds of fame. I think what Freddie needs to do is concentrate on getting better and not worry about what I'm doing over here. I've been in the league a long time and I'm gonna show up on Sunday."
A veteran like Rodney Harrison is no stranger to pre-game trash-talking.
"Some people are just immature," he said. "Some people haven't really experienced certain things. Like I said, this is his 30 seconds of fame. When you look on ESPN you see him doing all the sideshows and all the antics and stuff like that. But when you go out there and you play well, your actions speaks for itself, you don't have to do the sideshows. People respect you. When you have a lot to say and criticize people, it really [puts] a negative light on you."
However much Mitchell may have disrespected the New England secondary, Harrison says he wont use it as an excuse to go headhunting. I'm just playing football. I'm not changing any of my ways or what I've been doing, what I've trained myself to do over the course of 26 years of playing football.
When asked about the Patriots response to his comments, Mitchell brushed them off. I was joking, I dont care. It will all be settled on Sunday.
That it will, and as Freddie Mitchell may find out, more times than not, big-mouthed opponents of the New England Patriots end up eating their own words. Just ask Mike Vanderjagt.
You can find more stories about Rodney Harrison and his teammates in the HOT NEWS section or in their player profiles.
If you are reading this article via a news portal, you can find the original
This story was put together by Patriots Insider Staff, Michael Reardon.