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Harrison fires back

Patriots safety responds to Eagles receiver's opening salvo

FOXBOROUGH -- Freddie Mitchell may have something for Rodney Harrison when he meets the Patriots safety in next week’s Super Bowl, but Harrison had some words of his own today for the Eagles wide receiver.

The Philadelphia Eagles' other loquacious receiver -- the one without the Pro Bowl pedigree and ankle injury -- offended some Patriots when he dissed their secondary in a television interview. In a segment taped yesterday on ESPN, Mitchell admitted he couldn’t name any of the Patriots defensive backs, saying he only knew their numbers. Except for No. 37 that is.

“I got something for you Harrison when I meet you too,” he said.

Preparing for the Patriots’ second-to-last practice at Gillette Stadium before heading to Jacksonville, Harrison said he had not yet seen the interview, but quickly got the gist of it from a group of reporters surrounding his locker.

“That’s pretty funny coming from a guy that doesn’t start,” he said. “This is his 30 seconds of fame. What Freddie needs to do is concentrate on what he needs to do.”

Mitchell started just nine games this season for the NFC Champion Eagles, but has been fairly instrumental for the team in the playoffs with the absence of injured Terrell Owens, most memorable in his circus touchdown catch that helped the Eagles beat the Minnesota Vikings in the divisional round of the playoffs.

"It just shows he doesn't have respect for us," Patriots cornerback Asante Samuel said Friday, responding to Mitchell's comments from a day earlier.

After the divisional playoff game against the Vikings, Mitchell thanked his hands for being so good, and now has opened the initial war of words between the Patriots and Eagles, gearing up for Super Bowl XXXIX.

“You expect it from immature guys who haven’t experienced success on a pro level,” Harrison said. “Some guys are just immature and haven’t experienced things. When you go out there and play well, you don’t have to do these sideshows.”

The Patriots have a patchwork secondary that includes a rookie free agent (Randall Gay), a converted wide receiver (Troy Brown) and a guy (Hank Poteat) who was taking college courses before the playoffs started.

Starters Tyrone Poole and Ty Law have been sidelined with injuries most of the season, but the fill-ins shut down Peyton Manning and the rest of the Colts in a second-round playoff game, and intercepted Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger three times in the AFC championship game.

"Freddie Mitchell is a guy who is getting time now because Terrell (Owens) is hurt," Patriots linebacker Willie McGinest said. "We don't worry about what he's saying. He will have to deal with that on the field.

"All I can say is, Rodney Harrison is the wrong guy to mention, especially if you're a receiver. He (Mitchell) is not humble. He hasn't done enough in this league to be on TV talking about that. Philly has a lot more class than that. It's just one guy."   Continued...

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