Former Patriots defensive back Rodney Harrison was twice voted the NFL’s dirtiest player in Sports Illustrated’s player poll. Now retired, Harrison was unable to defend his crown, which in turn was given to Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward.
Yet Harrison, now an analyst with NBC, went on The Dan Patrick Show to discuss the dirty tag.
“Hines Ward, he’s an offensive Rodney Harrison,” Harrison said, presumably as a compliment. “Hines Ward is a guy who plays the game truly the way it’s supposed to be played.”
Ward garnered 11.6 of the players’ votes, with the likes of Redskins defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth (6 percent), Dolphins linebacker Joey Porter (6), Bengals safety Roy Williams (5.1) and Titans center Kevin Mawae (4.6) following behind.
It was Mawae, not Ward, who plays the game dirty, according to Harrison.
“Kevin Mawae is dirty,” Harrison said. “He’s a dirty dude.”
Harrison admitted a grudge against the Titans, stemming from a low cut block from Tennessee receiver Bobby Wade in Week 17 of 2006. Harrison, who had already missed six games that season, suffered an injury that kept him out of the playoffs, as the Patriots lost in the AFC championship game to the Colts. Harrison said that after the hit, he saw Titans players and head coach Jeff Fisher smiling.
(That may have been the motivation for Harrison’s hit on quarterback Vince Young in the following preseason.)
Not surprisingly, Harrison never appreciated the “dirty” tag that’s been attached to him.
“I felt like I was a guy who played hard,” Harrison said. “I never intended to hurt anyone.”
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