AP NEWS

Harrison Named to the Patriots’ Hall of Fame

May 7, 2019

Rodney Harrison, a man who made his living delivering stunning, game-changing plays, was shocked.

He couldn’t believe the fans voted him into the Patriots Hall of Fame over two longer-tenured players who both have one more championship ring than he does.

Harrison was fully expecting to hear the name of either Richard Seymour or Mike Vrabel as the 29th entrant. Only he was the championship player the fans chose, joining Leon Gray, who was elected earlier by a 10-person senior selection committee.

When the news finally sunk in, Harrison couldn’t have been any happier. The fans spoke so loudly, it sent an unmistakable message to the former safety, who had made it to the fan vote for the first time.

And this was no knock on former teammates Seymour and Vrabel.

, who were also worthy of entry. In Harrison’s mind, this was more a validation of what he meant to a football team during his 15 seasons, the last six playing with the Patriots.

Harrison, the only defensive back in NFL history with 30 sacks and 30 interceptions, was beginning to doubt he would ever get into any Hall of Fame, much less the Patriots.

“The fact that the fans voted me in, it means more to me, then say, the Pro Football Hall of Fame,” Harrison said on a conference call. “The fans got a chance to see me play every week. They got a chance to see the story, the injuries, the adversity and the comeback and the plays that were made ... they’re not going by reputation or rumors or anything like that.”

After signing with New England in 2003, Harrison became a game-changing force for Bill Belichick, winning two Super Bowls.

He was a dominant player, as the safety played a hybrid role in one of the league’s best defenses.

Harrison could eliminate tight ends, or big receivers if the need arose, or, he could set the tone with punishing hits over the middle.