BOSTON (CBS) — Rodney Harrison is in the Patriots Hall of Fame in Foxboro. A former New England executive believes the retired safety deserves a spot in Canton, too.
Writing for NFL.com, Scott Pioli made the case that Harrison deserves enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.READ MORE: 'Historically Low Level Of Blood': Red Cross Looking For Donors This Holiday Season
“I understand the complexities that come with every decision in this business, and I pride myself on being able to compartmentalize and make the player evaluation about performance, not emotion,” the former VP of player personnel wrote. “Yes, Rodney is one of our former players, a former co-worker and a dear friend, but trust me when I say that I’m not making his case for the Hall of Fame based on my own biases. His career production falls in line with a number of Hall of Famers.”
Pioli accented his case thusly: “The Hall of Fame is home to the best football players in our game’s history. Rodney was a champion in every sense of the word and set the standard at his position. It’s simple. His body of work merits recognition of the highest level. He deserves the Hall call.”
Pioli’s case for Harrison began with a stat that too few football fans know: Harrison is one of just two players in NFL history with at least 30 interceptions and 30 sacks. The other? Ray Lewis.
Pioli then compared Harrison to John Lynch — a Hall of Famer who deserves his spot in Canton, according to Pioli.READ MORE: Police Locate Car Involved In Somerville Hit And Run
“Over the course of their careers, Harrison had more interceptions, sacks and defensive touchdowns than Lynch despite playing 38 fewer games,” Pioli wrote.
Pioli did address Harrison’s reputation of taking cheap shots and his HGH suspension in 2007. But neither issue should disqualify Harrison, according to Pioli.
“In my opinion, if Rodney Harrison has been kept out of the Hall of Fame due to the suspensions and fines, it’s a lazy argument,” he wrote. “Unfortunately, there are other football immortals with worse marks against them.”
It’s unclear whether or not Hall of Fame voters will feel the same way as Pioli, but the argument got one major endorsement from Tom Brady:
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— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) November 23, 2021
The world will learn if Harrison has a chance to be enshrined in this year’s Hall of Fame class when the list of semifinalists (out of the 123 eligible candidates) is announced on Wednesday.