For years there was no question why NFL receivers feared going over the middle against the New England Patriots. The reason was simple: Rodney Harrison. Regarded by many as the league’s hardest hitting safety since Ronnie Lott, Harrison was one of the most daunting figures in the NFL. Harrison played 15 NFL seasons (nine with the San Diego Chargers and six with the New England Patriots). Harrison made NFL history in 1997 as the first player to score touchdowns on a fumble return, interception return and kickoff return in the same season. Harrison‘s defensive prowess made him an integral part of New England’s two Super Bowl wins in 2003 and 2004.
More than opposing teams hate to face him, Harrison‘s teammates love to share the sideline with him. Due to his impressive skills, high intensity and instant impact on the Patriots’ defense, it was no mystery why Rodney Harrison was named one of the defensive captains after only one game in New England. Rodney‘s high energy and outspoken leadership played a major role in turning around the 2003 Patriot’ season and help lead them to Superbowl XXXVIII. While in San Diego, Rodney garnered the same respect from his teammates as they named him the Chargers’ Defensive Player of the year four times. In addition, he was selected to the Chargers 40th Anniversary All-Time Team during the 2000 season. Nationally, Harrison has been selected to two Pro Bowls and has been named on several All-Pro teams from various publications. Before being drafted as a junior in 1994, he had a successful collegiate career at Western Illinois, including being named all three years to the All-Gateway Conference team and two years to the All-America teams by several publications. Rodney also holds a school record for tackles by a defensive back with 345, in addition to a single game school record of 28 tackles.
Rodney Harrison was born in Chicago, IL, where he was an all-conference selection in football, basketball and track while attending Marian Catholic High School. More than his love for football, Harrison enjoys spending time with his family. During the off-season, he resides with his wife and daughter in Atlanta, GA. He also makes time to return home to Chicago as often as possible to spend time with his mother, Barbara. A single parent who raised Harrison and his older brother and sister, Barbara is the one Rodney credits with instilling in him discipline, a work ethic and the tools necessary to succeed in life. Putting to work some of the lessons he learned from his mother, Harrison established the “Hard Hitters” Foundation in 1999 to improve the quality of life and training for disadvantaged children. Rodney Harrison is also a highly demanded motivational speaker, and has spoken at events for such companies as Raytheon and BISCO Environmental.
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