Bernard Pollard's turned into a hardass since going to Baltimore.
The guy who wants to see the Patriots get a "thrashing" from the Giants, the guy who called Tom Brady a "pretty boy" last week, the guy who got exposed as a coverage liability then complained that the Patriots were "dinking and dunking" -- as if there's some kind of bonus for throwing the ball into tighter coverage against better players -- wasn't always such a richard.
Here's what Pollard said days after blowing out Tom Brady's ACL and MCL with a hit in the 2008 season opener when Pollard was with the Chiefs:
"As soon as he went down, I started saying, 'I'm sorry, my bad, I'm sorry. That right there, that's not going to bring him back, it's not going to heal that injury any quicker than what it is -- that's just the type of person I am.
"It was not a dirty play, I'm not a dirty player. It's football. I can't do anything but pray for him and hope he comes back. As soon as he went down -- if I was a dirty player, I wouldn't have apologized, I'd have got up and went my way. I immediately started apologizing. I went to my coach later and let my coach know (it was not an intentional play). For the people who said it was a dirty play, that's their opinion."
Yet last week, when the current Raven was asked about Brady, he said, "Ive not spoke to him directly, indirectly weve spoken through other people. If you are asking me if I apologized? No. And Im not going to apologize for it. Its football."
A little more than a year after the hit on Brady, it was Pollard's bad luck to be on the scene when Wes Welker's ACL blew out in Houston with Pollard closing in for a tackle.
"I heard Wes yell out, the same way I heard Tom yell out,'' Pollard told Sports Illustrated's Peter King. "It was the same yell. It was terrible. He went down right in front of me. I saw his knee buckle, then I fell on him, and when he went down, I said, 'Just my luck.' ''
Nothing Pollard did on either play was particularly villainous. Nor was the tackle he made on Rob Gronkowski on Sunday that twisted Gronk's ankle in a grotesque fashion. It was all just football.
But it seems Pollard wants to change his image from a solid, hard-hitting competitor with respect for opponents to a black-hat wearing, stuff-talking renegade.
That's fine. Although Terrell Suggs does it much more effectively, entertainingly, and with more talent to back it up, maybe Pollard can work that angle.
It would just help if he was a little more consistent so everyone knew which Bernard Pollard was which.