New England Patriots safety Rodney Harrison addresses the media during his press conference at the team's Super Bowl XLII headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona on January 30, 2008.
(on whether a team guaranteeing a win is a motivation)
"It's human nature to get motivated by some of those comments. At the same time you understand that it's just mouth service. You still have to go out there on Sunday. You put a lot of pressure on yourself when you do make comments like that, to go and perform. For us (the Patriots), we just shut up and we play football. That's one of the signs coming into the stadium, 'shut up and do your job.' That's what it's about. It's not about what you say during the week, with the media whether it's entertaining. A lot of times guys use that as their 30 seconds of fame, but a guy like that (Plaxico Burress), he is a talented guy. He doesn't have to talk like that. He'll have his opportunity to prove it on Sunday. We'll see what happens."
*(on if the pursuit of an 19-0 season is a blessing or a curse) *
"It's a one-game season. We hope to go undefeated for one more game. That's what we're looking at. It's not about if they're (Giants) wearing (black) suits or what they're talking about. It's all about executing, preparing this week and getting ready to play on Sunday. That's what it's about. It's not about lip service or anything of that sort. We have to go out there, and we should handle business."
*(on considering retirement after a win in the Super Bowl) *
"I'm excited about this week. I'm not looking into that right now. I feel great. I've been playing good football. I've been playing so many different positions that shows my versatility this year which (Bill) Belichick has given me an opportunity to do. I've played some inside cornerback. I've played some outside linebacker as well as deep safety. Right now I can't really say that I feel like I want to move on and not play football any longer. I'm excited about this opportunity that I'm getting Sunday, and we'll see what happens."
*(on if the Patriots have corrected their mistakes from the Week 17 game against the Giants) *
"Everybody's saying that, but they lost. We played our worse defensive game of the year. We gave up 35 points. We were fourth in the league in points given up and we gave up 35 points, which is very uncharacteristic of our defense, and we played terrible. Everybody's talking about what happened in the last game of the season. That was the last game of the season. I guarantee you we're not going to go out there and play as poorly as we played last time, but we walked away with a win. Everybody's chomping and that, but a win is a win. We're not concerned about what happened the last game of the season."
*(on if his injury was the most trying thing in his career) *
"The injury situation was really tough for me, especially after '04 when we had just won a Super Bowl and going into Pittsburgh and having such a devastating injury like I had. I tore three ligaments in my knee and being at a point and time when you never thought you get the opportunity to play again."
*(on him being injured and the team not going to the Super Bowl) *
"I don't think that has anything to do with me. We have many pieces to this puzzle and I'm just one small piece to this puzzle. It was very unfortunate that I got injured, but the good thing about it was James Sanders, a young kid that came in, replaced me. He had the chance to grow and make some plays and come into a point where he's a starting free safety right now."
*(on how difficult the injury and the suspension were) *
"When you're at a point when you can't do what you're used to doing, it's very frustrating. You go out there and lay your heart and body on the line and all of a sudden your career and future is up in the air. The good thing about me is I just totally relied on my faith and the foundation in which I live. If I never got a chance to play again, at least I can say, 'I left it all out on the field.'"
*(on how people view the Patriots after the incidents early in the season ) *
"I don't care what they think. It doesn't matter. We're here in Arizona. We're enjoying this sunshine and this golf course. It really doesn't matter. A win is a win. We've had a lot of success. We've won one game 18 times in a row. We just have to do it again. What ever happened in the past is in the past. Whatever suspensions or fines that were imposed have been dealt with. We're moving forward. We're looking forward to Sunday."
*(on if the Patriots current defensive group is coming near the end of its run) *
"No, we have a bunch of veteran guys with a lot of experience and we've won a lot of games. We just shut down one of the most prolific offenses in the league in San Diego. We've had a lot of success. At the same time, you're going to give up points, you're going to give up some yards, but guess what? We're 18-0, so what does that say? Not bad for a bunch of old guys."
*(on being labeled as a dirty player) *
"It's just a label that people have on me. Once you have a label people take it and run with it. Unfortunately it sticks with you, but they can't take away what I've been blessed with, what I've done on the field, my Super Bowl rings and all the things I've been able to accomplish as a football player. It's unfortunate, but I'm an old school guy and I'm going to continue to play the way I play."
*(on if he allows himself to think about being on the brink of history) *
"I just think about one game. I'm really focused on this one game. If you go out there and take care of business on Sunday, everything else will take care of itself. We can control one thing and that's how we prepare, how we approach this game and how we execute on Sunday."
*(on what it would mean to him to have his name etched in history) *
"Right now, that's not my concern. Once we're done with this game and we take care of business, then we'll have the rest of our lives to sit back and reflect on that and tell people how great we thought we were. Right now that's not the time or place to think about it. It's really about X's and O's and going out there and executing a game plan."
*(on Eli Manning being from a football family) *
"He has a history of great players in his family, but that has nothing to do with Sunday. He still has to go out there and execute, make the throws and make the right decisions. His brother can't help him. His father can't help him. My father or brother can't help me. It's all about going out there and preparing and making sure you step up when the situation comes."
*(on what he thinks of Eli Manning as a quarterback) *
"He's a lot more confident. He's a lot more patient. He's not turning the ball over. He's very poised in the pocket. Hopefully we can rattle him a little bit and get a couple of turnovers and see what happens."
*(on all the hype for this game) *
"The hype is something you guys (the media) create and stir up. We don't fall into that. That's why you can't bait us into trash talking or disrespecting our opponents. We're not caught up in that. We're not self-promoters. We're not guys who think about themselves, we're a team. That's what I'm so proud of – 53 guys, 5 practice squad guys and a bunch of coaches working towards a common purpose. That's what it's about. It's not about self-promotion or talking smack in the media. You'll have your chance to prove it on Sunday."
*(on what makes a team great in crunch time) *
"We practice a lot of situational football. Bill (Belichick) wants smart, tough guys who can play well under pressure. That's what we have. They say we're old. They say we can't play defense, but we're fourth overall in scoring defense. We're 18-0, but none of that matters. It's all about what we do and how we execute on Sunday. That's what it comes down to. It's not about who has the advantage or who has the disadvantage. I think you gain an advantage during the week."
(on why the age of the defense is such a big concern)
"The common theme is speed, speed, speed, but if you don't know where you're going you're going, to get there a lot faster, but you're going to be in the wrong spot. Our guys are veteran players who are smart and play the game the way it's supposed to be played. We're well prepared and we play extremely hard. If you look overall at our defense, we've given up some yards and we've given up some points, but we keep winning football games. That's what it's about."
*(on if the younger players appreciate the Super Bowl experience and the success of the team) *
"The younger guys can't really gain an appreciation because they haven't really gone through what we've gone through to get to this point. When you walk right into the league at a young age and you have this type of success, there's no way in the world you can appreciate what you have. The more battles and the more trials and tribulations you go through, you have a greater appreciation for this experience and for this opportunity."
*(on playing his hardest every time he steps on the field) *
"You can't take it for granted because you know your opportunities are really wearing down. We've been to a few Super Bowls, but for us it never gets old. It's just so exciting to have this opportunity, especially when you're an old guy like me, you never know when your playing days are over."
*(on the Giants run game) *
"They have a big physical offensive line. Brandon Jacobs is a big man as well as Ahmad Bradshaw who is coming in and giving them a change of pace. They really keep you off balance – play action, run, pass and Eli (Manning), right now, is really taking care of the ball. They're just a physical group, but we're ready and prepared to step up to that challenge."
*(on how big Brandon Jacobs is) *
"He's bigger than Adalius Thomas and he is a 275 pound linebacker. It's like he's 300 pounds with his pads on, but I've seen some 300 pounders go down too. We're looking forward to that."
*(on how much talking will be done on the field) *
"We're going to let our talking be done with our pads and that's what it's about. The game isn't won or lost through the media. It's won or lost during the week, how you execute and prepare. We'll really get ready for this game. On Sunday you'll have your opportunity to get it done."