FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (Sept. 27, 2005) -- New England Patriots safety Rodney Harrison will miss the rest of the season with torn ligaments in his left knee, the team confirmed.
The Patriots placed Harrison on injured reserve, and agent Steve Feldman said the 32-year-old strong safety is expected to undergo surgery in four to six weeks for a torn anterior cruciate ligament, medial collateral ligament and posterior cruciate ligament.
Coach Bill Belichick did not disclose the extent of Harrison's injury after he went down in the first quarter of New England's 23-20 win over Pittsburgh. But Harrison's teammates made it clear the injury was serious.
"I went in at halftime and you could just tell that he was hurting," free safety Eugene Wilson said after the game. "He had tears in his eyes because he loves the game so much and to go down and know that you might not be able to play, it hurts."
Harrison is determined to return and play for New England next year, Feldman said.
"If anybody can do it, Rodney Harrison can do it," Feldman said. "He's optimistic. ... This is just another challenge."
Harrison, who started every game since he arrived from San Diego in 2003, was hurt when Pittsburgh wide receiver Cedrick Wilson hit his legs after being bumped by a New England player. Harrison grimaced and was driven off the field on a cart.
He was the Patriots' leading tackler the last two seasons and is the NFL's career leader in sacks by a defensive back. Harrison also has six interceptions in six playoff games with New England, including two in last season's 24-21 Super Bowl win over Philadelphia.
The Patriots secondary was depleted before Harrison went down. Three injured defensive backs -- cornerbacks Tyrone Poole and Randall Gay and safety James Sanders -- did not play against the Steelers.
Patriots tackle Matt Light left the field after the Steelers game with a cast on his right leg, but his status has not been updated.
Also, the Patriots waived linebacker Wesly Mallard. That leaves two openings on the team's 53-player roster. Mallard, 26, was signed by the Patriots as a free agent in April and played in the first two games, recording three special teams tackles. Mallard spent his first three seasons with the New York Giants.