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Around The AFC East: New England Patriots

Continuing on with our trip around the division, it's time to turn our attention to the Patriots. In particular, "MaPatsFan" from Pats Pulpit is here to discuss with us Rodney Harrison's Hall of Fame credentials.

Matty I: I'm interested in hearing your take on if Rodney Harrison should be elected into the Hall of Fame. He's spent the past 6 seasons in New England, so I'm sure you can give us some insight. Did he play like a "Hall of Famer" should on the field? How do you think his reputation as a "dirty" player might hinder him? And what about the HGH scandal he was in a few years ago? If it was up to you, would you vote him into the Hall?

MaPatsFan: This is a tough one because homerism certainly comes into play here. We Patriots fans love what Harrison has done on the field, but his "play to the whistle", no compromises style has rialed rival teammates and fans alike. So, before I answer your question directly, let me lay out some of the arguments for and against.

  • Both John Lynch and Rodney Harrison will be eligible at the same time, taking votes away from each other. John Lynch has a squeaky clean reputation, so voters may have less trepidation about voting Lynch in..
  • "Only" 2 Pro Bowls
  • The difficulty getting safeties into the HoF. For whatever reason, the voting members have done a horrible job putting safeties in Canton.
  • Use of the banned substance HgH. I'm sure many will be concerned about the precedent it sets.
  • Using personal fouls as the yardstick, he is NOT the dirtiest player in the NFL; that distinction goes to safety Adrian Wilson of the Cardinals with a league-high 17. Harrison, at 14, is also tied with Saints' defensive end Will Smith.
  • Rodney Harrison is the ONLY NFL player in the history of the game to amass 30.5 sacks and 34 interceptions. Did I mention he did that in 186 games, averaging 12.4 per season?
  • Guided the Patriots' defensive backfield to two Super Bowls. Harrison was widely recognized as the "onfield coach" of the defensive backfield and was given a great deal of latitude by Belichick to "prowl", playing in the box when he recognized it was necessary.
To directly answer your question about whether or not he belongs in the HoF, I say yes. Using statistics as the measure, he's at the top of the list for safeties. However, negatives that will haunt him are his words and attitude. In the media of late, he's no holds barred and unapologetic, much like the way he played the game. To use a catch phrase, he's not doing himself any favors. But, to a Patriots fan, that's exactly the Rodney we like. What kind of a person would he be if he changed his ways simply to have a bust in Canton?

My Take: This is an excellent layout of the debate about Harrison's Hall of Fame credentials. But in the end, his "dirty" play and his connection with HgH just makes it hard for me to say he should be voted in. There are other players who don't have any connection to performance enhancing drugs who aren't it yet - but should be. So I don't see how Harrison should get in over those guys. If it's up to me, he's not getting in - at least, not for a long while.

Make sure you head over to the Pulpit at some point to discuss some of the "trash talking" going on in Miami.