Recently retired safety Rodney Harrison continued to make eye-opening comments when he sat down for an interview with Sports Illustrated's Peter King. Harrison, who will join former Colts coach Tony Dungy in the NBC Sunday night studio show "Football Night in America," said his reputation for being a dirty player had more to do with the state of the game itself than it did with his own play:
"This is football in the National Football League. I hit a guy with my forearm in his throat or his chest area, and they're trying to fine me. It's football! It's not my fault if the guy curls up like a little girl because he doesn't want to get hit. Are you kidding me? And then I get hit with a $120,000 fine because I hit Jerry Rice. Do you think I'm going to let Jerry Rice catch a slant route in the end zone? I don't care what it costs me, I'm going to try to knock his head off.
"Football now is turning into a soft, pansy sport. This is not volleyball! This is not tennis! This is some of the biggest, fastest, strongest men in the world. I think it's absolutely ridiculous. I went out on my own terms. It won't bother me anymore ... They need to put some more defensive players in that NFL front office. [NFL director of football operations and finemeister] Gene Washington is an offensive guy. Do you think he wants to turn on the TV and see his fellow receivers get their head knocked off? He never liked me in the first place. But that's fine. They need to put defensive players in the office so we won't have such a biased opinion from one guy."
Harrison told King that he was not heading into his new job with a plan to rip players, but he once again said that he would dish out honest criticism -- and said that his own former New England teammates would not be exempt.