Patriots chairman/CEO Robert Kraft and head coach Bill Belichick both commented on the retirement of safety Rodney Harrison today as part of a team release.
The comments are below, with Belichick's remark that Harrison is the best practice player he's seen in 35 years among the compliments that stand out:
“Like so many other Patriots fans, Rodney Harrison will always be one of my favorite players. When he signed with the Patriots as a free agent in 2003, he did so with one goal in mind: to win Super Bowls. In each of his first two years, he not only led the defense in tackles, he led the team to consecutive 17 win seasons that culminated in Super Bowl championships. Those teams will be celebrated in New England for generations to come and I hope that Rodney will always be remembered for the many contributions he made to those championship teams. For the past six years, Rodney was a leader in the locker room and a tenacious defender on the field. He gave the Patriots, and the game of football, everything he had on every play, which earned the respect of Patriots fans everywhere. We look forward to bringing Rodney back to a game in the near future to honor him and to give our fans an opportunity to show him their appreciation.”
“Rodney Harrison is one of the best players I have ever coached. In the biggest games, in any situation and on a weekly basis, his production was phenomenal. Rodney is the best practice player I have seen in 35 years in the NFL, which is a testament to his exceptional passion for the game and his desire to sustain and improve his level of play. Regardless of his status on the team and in the league, Rodney’s approach to preparation spoke volumes about his devotion to the team and his ability to raise every player’s game. Rodney embodies all the attributes coaches seek and appreciate – toughness, competitiveness, leadership, selflessness, hard work, intensity, professionalism – and coming from Rodney, they are contagious. I am honored to have coached Rodney Harrison and am grateful for his significant impact on my career and the success of the New England Patriots.”