FOXBORO – Sitting on a stage with Ty Law, Lawyer Milloy and Otis Smith apparently brought Rodney Harrison back a few years.
The former Patriots safety and current NBC Sports football analyst threw down the gauntlet to the current Patriots Friday night at Ty Law’s Patriots Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
“You have an opportunity to play for the greatest organization on the planet,” Harrison said at one point. “How can you not come out here and get it done? It’s not good enough to win a playoff game. It’s not good enough to make it to the AFC Championship game. It’s time to win a Super Bowl and everybody has to be held accountable.”
Harrison, who won Super Bowls in 2003 and 2004 with the Patriots had his fire stoked both by Law’s ceremony and by the realization that the Patriots of 2014 are built in the same mold the Super Bowl teams were.
Asked about the defensive additions – most notable Darrelle Revis – Harrison roared, “About time! About time! For the last six years, I’ve been very disappointed, quite frankly. I take pride in this Patriots team and what Bill Belichick believes in. To see the type of guys that were on that stage [Friday night] and not see that same type of production [on the field currently]…It hurt my heart to have to criticize this secondary on Sunday nights [on NBC the past few seasons]. It hurt my heart. But at the same time there has to be a certain level of accountability. You get to a point where you realize, ‘Yes, it’s nice to score points on offense, but you need a defense.’
“Bill Belichick, he doesn’t go into a season and say, ‘Hey, this is a successful season if we win 12 games,’ ” added Harrison. “No. It’s about getting to the Super Bowl and winning.”
The undercurrent to Harrison’s comments seems to be a belief that there isn’t a defensive player who is tearing his teammates a new orifice if things don’t go well.
“You can’t be a leader if you don’t have an attitude,” said Harrison. “You gotta have some pride about yourself. You gotta understand how important it is to show up on an everyday basis and hold yourself accountable as well as teammates. We weren’t afraid to get in guy’s faces and say, ‘You’re slacking.’ Your professional pride, you get in a guy’s face, he’s gonna step it up or he’s gonna be replaced. That’s what I miss. And once again, I go back to the word accountability. You got Tom Brady, you got an opportunity to play with one of the greatest quarterbacks in history, how can you not get pumped up?”
I had no answer for that question. But I will admit, I was fired up and immediately returned to the press box and told Phil Perry he was slacking. He just laughed at me