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Ask PFW: Good luck, Rodney!

Rodney Harrison officially announced his retirement and move to TV last week. Not surprisingly Patriots Nation sent us plenty of emails to wish him luck in his new endeavors.


First, my hats off to Rodney Harrison, just the attitude he brought to NE was much needed at that time. I will miss watching him. Now my question: When he is enshrined in Canton will he go as a Patriot?
Bill Heaney

I just want to say THANK YOU to Rodney Harrison for what he brought to the table, the way he played every single play and what he meant to the Patriots and the fans not only of the Pats, but to the rest of the NFL!! He truly rocked and to those who say he was a "dirty player" what??? He was only trying to help us win and besides that isn't every player in the NFL somewhat of a "dirty player" from time to time???...You do what you gotta do to WIN!! That is the bottom line and if other players don't like it, then they are in the wrong line of work. As Rodney said himself, "this is not volleyball" As I like to say, if you can't stand the heat...get out of the kitchen!! Rodney, your intensity was outta this world, and you deserve a place in the NFL Hall Of Fame. Good luck to you in your NBC broadcasting career...your great insight will be welcome to all of America!!!Allan Beaulieu

Rodney Harrison is hands down one my favorite Patriot players of all time, and that is a pretty impressive list. His opponents disliked him, most if not all feared him, and his teammates loved him. He not only was a great safety, he was a great football player. His play on the field speaks for itself. Rodney, you will be missed. Thanks for some GREAT memories. Looking forward to watching Sunday nights.Dan Smith

I would just like to say that Rodney will be missed. He did one heck of a job and it will not be easy replacing him. Take care Rodney I look forward to watching you in your new job.Raymond Boulay

I'm just seconds removed from reading that Rodney Harrison will retire from the game of football and I felt compelled to come to the website and somehow express my gratitude to the most passionate, fierce, explosive and phenomenal player its ever been my privilege to watch play the game of football. Rodney always played the game the way it should be played. He never left anything on the table and gave us Patriots fans some of the most memorable and exciting moments of football one could ever hope to see. I can only wish him the best in whatever he does. As sincerely as any Patriots and football fan can say it, THANK YOU RODNEY! WE WILL MISS YOU!Pete Fontaine

I pretty much echo the thoughts expressed in these emails. Harrison was a great Patriot over his six seasons in New England. Unfortunately, injuries limited his action in recent years and help push him into retirement. Personally I will remember Harrison most for the difference between his on and off field personas. He clearly pushed the action to and past the limit on the field. But off it he's one of the nicest players I've ever come across. He's a truly a good man. He was never afraid to speak his mind and did so with impressive thought and care. As we've seen already I think he's going to be a highly opinionated, must-hear analyst in his next career. If he wants to, I think he'll be one of the best in the media. Five years from now I think he fights an uphill battle to earn enshrinement in Canton. I think he's a borderline Hall of Famer whose resume will be greatly debated moving forward. My guess is that he won't get in, but Rodney has been fighting long odds and proving people wrong throughout his career. I hope he proves me wrong this time, too. Good luck Rodney. You will be missed greatly by your coaches, teammates, fans, the media and everyone throughout Patriots Nation. And be sure to keep Tony Dungy in line on NBC in traditional Patriots-over-Colts fashion!
Andy Hart



]()What impact do you think Paris Lenon will bring? Also where do you see the defense as far as ranking? One more, PLEASE LETS NOT SIGN GREG ELLIS, he's a bum! He only plays 50% of the time, Dallas coaches were always ripping him for giving up on plays, not finishing tackles, and with #94 on the other side of Dallas' D, who wouldnt get sacks, he never got double teamed! *Brendon Whitfield*

The Pat's new LB from Detroit, I have seen his posted at 230 when he was with the Lions. Now that he is with the Pat's I see he is at 238. I am wondering what does he look like size-wise. Was he a big guy cutting weight to fit into Detroit's scheme and now bulking back up to his more natural weight or did we sign an undersized ILB for our 3-4 scheme and assume he is solely special teams. If he is more natural at say 240-245 and can bulk up to 250 could he push for a starting spot opposite Mayo. I know he was with the 0-16 Lions but a team leader in tackles is a team leader in tackles.Benny B.

Having not seen him take part in any contact action as a Patriot, I think Lenon is going to battle for playing time early in the season and could vie for a starting job at some point during the year. I wouldn't fixate too much on his size. I think he has enough bulk to play on the inside. And he's got a mean streak and playing style that should help him settle into the 34 scheme here in New England. He's probably not going to bulk up too much, as it looks like things are packed in pretty tightly on his well-chiseled frame, but I think he's big enough. As for Ellis, I'd give him a call. He's a proven, productive veteran with experienced on the outside in the 3-4. At worst he'd bring veteran depth to the position that's kind of a youth movement at this point. At best he might end up a productive player in the scheme. Why not work him out and give him a look? For the record, though, I've yet to hear anything about him coming to New England. It still sounds like the Bengals are the team most interested in Ellis, although his agent has said that five teams expressed interest in the veteran pass rusher following his release from Dallas.
Andy Hart

Who you personally think if the Pats could travel back a couple of drafts who you think the Pats would select with the knowledge of the player they are today Rodney Harrison, Bob Sanders, Ed Reed or Troy Paulamalu?Timothy Suydan

Given the ability to select any of those players, I think Bill Belichick would select Ed Reed. Belichick has been as effusive in his praise of Reed over the years as he has of any player. Tom Brady once even joked that Bill was going to kidnap Reed to bring him to New England. After Reed, though, I think Harrison would be next in line in this fictitious draft. I would love to see what Harrison could have done in his career had he landed on Belichick's team much earlier. Had all of his 15 seasons come playing for Belichick, there might not be any debate about Harrison's Hall of Fame credentials. Too bad we'll never know.
Andy Hart

Greetings from sunny Australia! THANK YOU ALL for making our favorite team so accessible, especially for those of us living abroad. I have a couple of questions for the team: Firstly, Tom Brady was prescribed to limited pre-season duty last year because of his prolific 2007 campaign. There is no doubt he will be more 'active' this time around. But seeing as how he only threw the ball in competition just 11 times in the past year, what are the chances that we may see him in any of the preseason games, if only to acclimatize him again to their pace? Or will Coach Belichick again keep him wrapped up in cotton wool, only to unleash him against Buffalo? Secondly, in regards to contracts, in the wake of Rodney Harrison's retirement, what happens to the money that he would have been paid if he returned to the team? Do they still honor the life of his incumbent contract, or does the team now have a little more for the coffers to help them with restructuring other players' contracts? Much appreciated, and Thanks again.Saj
Sydney, Australia

G'day, mate! I do think we'll see Brady in action this season. It probably won't be significant playing time, but I think he'll need some reps in "game" speed before taking the field in the opener against the Bills. As for Harrison, he was a free agent when he announced his retirement this past week. So he did not have a contract. Regardless, retirement would have voided any salaries moving forward and taken those figures off the team's salary cap as NFL contracts are, as we hear so often, not guaranteed. Depending on bonus money included in any contract, a retirement pushes the remaining prorated dollars onto the cap in the year of the retirement.
Andy Hart

Hi guys, What's wrong with all you guys. Everyone from coaches, trainers, players, you guys and Mr. Cockrell (or whatever his name is) - and even the talking heads on the NFL Network - are against the proposed 18-game season. I can understand the players objection. If they don't get paid more money, why should they? But, everyone else? Nothing could make more sense. Please explain to me why football needs a silly, meaningless four game preseason. Football gets better - for the fans - the owners - the TV networks - the players - and the sport in general - by getting rid of at least two of these stupid games. And, the whining coaches will adjust. They already have almost 3/4 of a year to get ready. Get real. Make the year 18 games long.Dick Goodwin

In general my reaction to the expanded season is, if it isn't broken then don't try to fix it. I love the NFL game, the season and everything goes into it. Why are trying to change it? I know the answer – money—but as a fan I don't worry about that. I leave that to the businessmen who run the league. I think an extended season, along with a shortened preseason, could expose the players to more injuries. Depending on how training camps/preseason is adjusted, we might see less polished action early in the year. We might see a ton more players break down as the long season wears on. Plus, we could be pushing the season deeper into February. The NFL is essentially a year-round calendar as it stands. Why make it worse? Don't we hear people complain all along about how MLB, NHL and NBA seasons are too long? By adding two games, the NFL could be moving in that direction. Sure, preseason action feels meaningless, but it's not to the players and the coaches. Guys are learning and being evaluated. They might not be stars now, but they could be down the road. With no developmental league or minor league feeder system the NFL needs a way to develop guys. That's the preseason. If the bottom line calls for it I'm sure we'll all get used to any adjustments to the NFL schedule. I just don't think it's a good idea or even all that necessary.
Andy Hart



]()With the selection of Ron Brace in the draft, and the OTA absences, does this signal the end of the Vince Wilfork era? If it is, I hope BB works out a trade prior to the regular season, so we can receive some attractive compensation, as opposed to nothing in free agency. Can you see anything to suggest we are parting ways with our incumbent nose tackle? P.S. Is there any possibility of you guys staggering your vacation times, so we don't have that 3 week period without Ask PFW this summer? Thanks. Enjoy your vacations. Well deserved. *Laurie Wood*

The Wilfork negotiations are a fluid situation and will likely remain as such moving forward. These big-money deals are always a complex process, something that's been made even more so thanks to the NFL's labor uncertainty. Wilfork is an elite player at a position of value. Guys with his skills don't grow on trees. (Think about that image, a 325-pound Wilfork hanging from a fruit tree like an orange! That would have to be one strong stem!) If he gets to the open market, he'll be a top commodity. He says he wants to stay in New England but it's clear he also wants to be paid market value for his unique, glamour-free services. I wouldn't usher him out the door just yet, but I don't think he's a lock to be here in the long term, either. Only time and the complex details of a long negotiation will decide that. I wouldn't trade him. I think he's too important to this defense right now. The Patriots should be competing for a Super Bowl this fall and letting Wilfork go would not be good for those chances. I'd be willing to go into the season and focus on winning right now, even if it means losing Wilfork later for no compensation. And don't forget that the team could use a franchise tag on him next spring if it had to. That's a good safety net to have in guarding against losing him for nothing, much the way the team used the tag maximize Matt Cassel's value this spring. Thinking that Ron Brace – a second-round pick let's remember – is going to come in and replace Wilfork is not realistic. Wilfork is a special talent. He was a steal at the 21st spot of the first round when he was drafted. He probably could have been a top-12 or so pick. No disrespect to Brace, but he's got marathons to go before he should be even mentioned in the same sentence as Wilfork. Hopefully the big guy will be on the field for the Patriots come September – with or without a new contract – and help the team battle for another Lombardi Trophy. Beyond that, the business side of the situation will work itself out over time. And to solve the vacation problem I think we're just going to make Angry Erik Scalavino do Ask PFW for the rest of the summer? He's taken more than his share of vacation in recent years anyway. Does that work for everyone?
Andy Hart

With reports of Jeremy Jarmon declaring for the NFL supplemental draft, would he be a good fit for the Patriots at OLB? He has the size to play OLB, 6'3, 265lbs. He also put up solid numbers during his last two seasons for the Wildcats registering 13.5 sacks and 100 tackles. Thanks PFW.Steve Feeney

I'm sure the Patriots will look into Jarmon, a guy I don't know much about. In fact I'm sure they saw plenty of him while doing scouting work on his former college teammate Myron Pryor. Jarmon is entering the supplemental selection process due to issues failing an NCAA drug test – reportedly an over the counter diet supplement. That's one hurdle he'll have to clear. I also wouldn't say he's perfectly suited in terms of size to be a Patriots OLB, especially as a projected DE conversion. Belichick has focused on the ideals of the position including 6-4 height. As an underclassman Jarmon listed at 6-3. That's an inch shy of ideal and generally guys lose some height going through the scouting process and Combine. So it's actually possible that Jarmon is really 6-2, which is not ideal for what Belichick is looking for. As I said, I'm sure New England will do its due diligence on Jarmon. Based on what I've read it sounds like he will get selected in the July 16 supplemental draft. Will it be in New England? Stay tuned.
Andy Hart

With the recent talk on about the dying position that is fullback I was wondering what you think the Pats may do about that undervalued position this year. We seem to have a number of options such as actual fullbacks like Pass and Kettani, conversions like Russ Hochstein or going without. I'd personally be all for giving Kettani a shot but what do you guys think?Chris Mellows

First, I don't think any of the guys on the roster would be considered true NFL fullbacks. Pass is a running back who, at 5-11, 217 can line up some at fullback. Kettani is a project as an undrafted player out of Navy who is also more of a tweener than a true running back or fullback. Hochstein is a situational guy. But I also think that one or two of those players combined could very well fill out the Patriots needs at fullbacks in the rare times the team calls on the position. Also, the group of tight ends in New England is more than capable of contributing to the spot, either as a blocker in motion into the backfield or lined up there. In today's NFL, with today's spread offenses, the true fullback really is dying a not-so-slow death. I like the position and the guys that play it. Unfortunately, it's simply not a valuable commodity anymore.
Andy Hart

Romeo Crennel is still out there and the Pats have some coaching holes. Any chance of him coming back to New England to help out?
Sam Frankel

Last I'd heard of Crennel is that he was having hip surgery and planning on sitting out the season. He'd reportedly turned down offers to remain in Cleveland with Eric Mangini as well as one to join Charlie Weis at Notre Dame. It sounds like he's going to remain away from the league for at least a year. But I wouldn't rule out a return to New England at some point down the road. I think he left under very good terms and would be welcomed back with open arms should the need for his services arise on Belichick's staff.
Andy Hart

I've been keeping up as much as I can with the OLB comments and questions on PFW. What I'm not seeing is high remarks for Crable and Woodley to fill the position untested. Why is this? Crable is a for sure go ahead fill in isn't he?
Corri Rogers

There has been plenty of both praise and skepticism thrown about concerning the OLB spot in New England since Mike Vrabel was traded to Kansas City this spring. To clarify, though, the young players at the spot are Pierre Woods, Shawn Crable and Vince Redd. I think you are confusing Woods with Pittsburgh OLB LaMarr Woodley, who went to school with Crable at Michigan. He had a breakout year for the Steelers last fall with 11.5 sacks opposite James Harrison. If Woodley were on the depth chart in New England you probably would hear more praise for the spot. But, alas, he's not. That said, everyone (including defensive end Richard Seymour in an interview you can hear on Tuesday's edition of PFW in Progress here on seems to be pretty high on the young players at the position. Crable has a lot of fans both inside the locker room and out. His rookie year was a wash last fall, but all the positive talk has me looking forward to what he can do in game action this summer and fall. Woods (also from Michigan in case you are keeping track here) is a solid if unspectacular player at this point in his career. I think he'll be the starter to open the season and will split pass-rushing reps with Crable assuming the team doesn't bring in a veteran between now and than. The bottom line is the group is very much unproven at this point (as Woodley himself was at this time a year ago) but bears watching. There is certainly some talent, size and speed there. Now they have to put it to use. We'll all be watching to see if they can get the job done.
Andy Hart

Hi PFW. Which of the Patriots upcoming big name free agents (Wilfork, Seymour, and Mankins) do you see them re-signing, if any? P.S. - Was it just me or did Erik Scalavino seem a little angry in his replies last Tuesday? Thanks.Bo Rice

Erik is always cranky. I think it's a Napoleon Complex. He's a wee-little guy. I hope the readers of Ask PFW don't take it too personally. As I said in the answer in regards to Wilfork above, I think he's going to be the toughest to sign. My guess is that the team will get a deal done with Mankins at some point, probably during the season this fall as it has done in the past with guys like Matt Light and Dan Koppen. Seymour is an interesting case. He's coming off a big-money, second contract in New England. He's entering his 30s, but is still a relatively young player. He's been productive when healthy and sounds like he's ready for a huge contract-year run. I think he's ready to at least get to free agency and see what offers he gets on the open market. I could see that one going either way, although it probably depends on what happens with Wilfork. If he's back, I think there is a good chance Seymour won't be. If the Wilfork thing looks ugly, I think that would improve the chances of Seymour coming back. It will certainly be hard to keep both players moving forward.
Andy Hart

Do you think a trade for [Julius] Peppers is still possible?
Jon Dion

Andy Hart

Why do you think the Pats traded away Ellis Hobbs!? He was a beast at CB and as a returner. Now we have to rely on a couple of veterans who are also good, don't get me wrong, but are new to the Patriots complicated defense.
Josh Freeman

I think Hobbs had peaked in his development. I think he showed that he'd never be a No. 1 corner and may not even be a better than average starting cornerback. The New England secondary needed a total overhaul and he was part of that. I liked his contributions as a kickoff returner, but they simply weren't enough to warrant keeping him around at a relatively high cap figure. Combine that with the fact that the team was able to get some compensation in return, even if only a pair of fifth-round picks, and I think it was time to make the move. I also think you are going to be pleasantly surprised with the cornerback position this year, not just with veteran newcomers in Leigh Bodden and Shawn Springs, but also with the youth movement of Terrence Wheatley, Jonathan Wilhite and Darius Butler. The competition should be very strong in training camp and hopefully the production will be all the better for it during the season.
Andy Hart

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