HOUSTON – It's clear from listening to Rodney Harrison that even a terrific run to the Super Bowl has done little to put the bitter memories of his last days in San Diego behind him.
"How can they expect to succeed when they pretty much took the heart of the team by releasing Junior Seau and Curtis Conway?" Harrison said when a San Diego writer asked several Chargers-related questions. "Guys like that, myself included, who go out there and play injured, play hard and lay it on the line get treated like that?
"Then they go out and sign a guy like David Boston. I've never been suspended for conduct or missed any training time. How can you expect to have a guy like that as a leader?
"I'm there in training camp (in 2002) with a new coach (Marty Schottenheimer) and he's telling me how great he thinks I am. Then a couple months later I can't run. I had a torn groin, of course I can't run. But that's all behind me now."
Harrison has been instrumental in the defense's overall improvement and was named All-Pro by the Associated Press. But the safety was more interested in talking about one of his teammates who joined him on that list.
"Ty Law is the best corner in the league," he said unequivocally. "Just the way he plays, his hard work, his commitment and leadership – he brings so much to the game. I've never played with a corner like Ty Law. He's the total package."
Hail to the defense
Quarterback Tom Brady took a playful jab at his defensive teammates on Wednesday when he joked about going against the first defense during practice. Brady was asked how difficult it was to oppose such a formidable force on a daily basis.
With a wry smile on his face, Brady explained how the first offense normally doesn't oppose the first defense much in practice, instead going against scout team designed to run the opponent's schemes and formations. But he added another reason: "we don't want to shatter their confidence."
When informed of Brady's attempt at humor, linebacker Mike Vrabel had a quick response. "Ask Tom how the offense made out in the two-minute drill at practice [Monday]. If they want to make up touchdowns that they scored they can do that, but ask him how they did against us."
Notes and quotes
Vrabel was asked his first impressions of teammate and fellow linebacker Larry Izzo, who at 5-10, 228 pounds doesn't resemble the normal NFL player. "I thought he was the third trainer or something," Vrabel laughed. "This little muscular guy walking around … I thought maybe he was another strength coach." Vrabel did go on to say how valuable Izzo's role as a special teams standout has been for to the team during the last three years. … Harrison on the difference between this trip to the Super Bowl compared to his only other appearance in 1994 during his rookie season: "Last time I was sitting at a table like this and nobody wanted to talk to me." … Bill Belichick reported that Tedy Bruschi was "fine" after his first full day of practice. The Patriots had no changes to their injury report on Thursday with Bruschi (leg), tight end Christian Fauria (leg) and fullback Patrick Pass (ankle) still listed as probable. ... Izzo on the first Super Bowl he remembers watching, "The first one I remember watching was when I was living in Germany when my dad was in the military. My brother and I went to bed and got back up in the middle of the night to watch the Redskins and the Dolphins play in 1982-83. That was my fondest memory, being up in the middle of the night watching the game, John Riggins on fourth down and David Woodley hitting Jimmy Cefalo for an 80-yard touchdown early," Izzo recalled. ...Troy Brown commented on his loss to Steve Smith in the 989 NFL football video game, "I didn't win." When it was mentioned that the winner of that game is 8-0 in the Super Bowl, Brown said, "It's a video game. Streaks are made to be broken." Brown defeated Isaac Bruce in the game two years ago.