The Patriots are playing the Ravens this weekend. It will be a tough matchup, but it shouldn't strike fear into too many New England fans' hearts — unless, that is, they remember that Bernard Pollard is suiting up for Baltimore.
Pollard is a common name in New England for the worst of reasons. When Tom Brady went down in the most frightening fashion at the beginning of the 2008, it was Pollard's helmet on his ACL. When Rob Gronkowski left Gillette Stadium in a walking boot and never really recovered his form last season, it was thanks to a Pollard tackle. Even Wes Welker's horrific ACL injury in 2010 came with Pollard closing in.
Pollard was critical last season about what he said was unfair treatment of Brady in the aftermath of Brady's knee injury, but he maintained that he's never trying to hurt someone when making a tackle. On Wednesday, as he and the Ravens prepared for a rematch of last year's AFC title game, he said he takes no great pride in being the guy who has sent so many Patriots to the sidelines.
"Anything that I've done, I don't celebrate with that," Pollard told Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. "I don't laugh when people come up to me and call me 'The Brady Killer.' I don't laugh at that. I'm looking at a man that I respect. I respect Tom Brady with everything that I have. … When it's all said and done, that man had to do the treatment, he had to everything else to come back. Nothing is done maliciously."
Pollard again reiterated that he isn't ever trying to hurt someone, no matter what New England supporters may think.
"They can think I'm a villain all they want to," he said. "I think the fans have to understand that we as players, we don't come out and look to hurt anybody. That's not our intention by any means."
Even if Pollard isn't planning on wreaking havoc this Sunday, though, the Patriots may not want to take a chance this time — perhaps they should design some plays to clear him away from the team's most valuable players.