FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The New England Patriots placed veteran safety Rodney Harrison on the reserve / injured list with a left knee injury today. Harrison, who was injured in the Patriots' 23-20 victory over Pittsburgh last Sunday, will miss the remainder of the 2005 season. The Patriots also announced that linebacker Wesly Mallard has been waived from the 53-man roster. New England currently reports 51 players on its active roster.
Harrison, 32, is in his 12th NFL season and was signed by the Patriots as a veteran free agent on March 12, 2003. The 6-foot-1-inch, 220-pound safety has been a defensive captain for the Patriots in each of his three seasons in New England and had started 35 consecutive regular season games and six playoff games for the Patriots. In his first two full seasons with the Patriots (2003-04), Harrison was not only New England's leading tackler each year, but also led all NFL defensive backs in tackles both seasons, recording a career-high 140 tackles in 2003 and following that up with 138 tackles in 2004.
Since entering the NFL in 1994, press box statisticians have credited Harrison with 1,025 tackles, more than any other defensive back over that span. The Western Illinois product is the NFL's all-time leader in sacks by a defensive back (27.5 sacks), and that statistic combined with his 31 career interceptions makes Harrison the only player in NFL history with at least 25 career sacks and at least 30 career interceptions. The Chicago native has been a consistent performer on the NFL's biggest stage, recording six interceptions in his six playoff games with the Patriots, setting the team's career playoff interception record. In the 2004 playoffs, Harrison recorded four interceptions, including two in Super Bowl XXXIX.
Harrison spent the first nine seasons of his career with the San Diego Chargers (1994-02) after he was selected by San Diego in the fifth round (145th overall) of the 1994 NFL Draft. He was selected to participate in the Pro Bowl following the 1998 and 2001 seasons. In his regular-season career, Harrison has played in 158 games with 131 starts, recording 1,053 tackles (810 solo), 27.5 sacks for 210.5 yards, 31 interceptions for 357 yards and two touchdowns, 103 passes defensed, 12 forced fumbles, seven fumble recoveries and 51 special teams tackles. In the playoffs, Harrison has played in 10 games (6 starts) and has recorded 50 tackles (42 solo), two sacks for four yards, six interceptions for 108 yards and a touchdown, seven passes defensed, two forced fumbles and seven special teams tackles.
Mallard, 26, was signed by the Patriots as a veteran free agent on April 19, 2005. The 6-foot-1-inch, 230-pound linebacker and special teams player has appeared in 36 career games, including the first two games of the 2005 season for the Patriots. Mallard spent the first three years of his career (2002-04) with the New York Giants, who selected him in the sixth round (188th overall) of the 2002 NFL Draft out of Oregon. In two games this season for New England, he recorded three special teams tackles. Mallard's career totals include four defensive tackles (3 solo) and 37 special teams tackles.