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Safety Harrison expected to retire after 15 seasons, start TV career

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Here's a sample, compliments of New England Patriots linebacker Pierre Woods, of what television viewers can expect when Rodney Harrison goes on the air:

"When you hit someone, you want their mommas to feel it."

Or this: "If you can't hit the quarterback, what are you doing out there?"

"I miss Rodney. I wish he was here," Woods said after the Patriots' optional workout Tuesday. "Wherever he's at, I'm sure he's going to be great."

The Patriots had a round of voluntary workouts this week, and Harrison wasn't on the field at Gillette Stadium -- or anywhere, for that matter. The two-time Pro Bowl selection, who worked for the NFL Network and NBC while injured last season, has scheduled a conference call for Wednesday morning and is expected to announce that he's retiring to enter the broadcast booth.

"I know he was pretty good on TV," Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi said of Harrison. "The future's bright for him, no matter what way he decides to go."

One of the hardest hitters -- some say dirtiest -- in NFL history, Harrison won two Super Bowls with the Patriots, but he missed the final 10 games last season after tearing a muscle in his right thigh. Injuries, along with a four-game suspension in 2007 for using a banned substance, limited Harrison to 31 games over the last four seasons.

"You could tell when he came back (after an injury) that he was just happy to be on the field," Woods said. "You're not going to find any more Rodney Harrisons. They called him the dirtiest player in the game, but the guy played with a passion."

Not counting the drug suspension, Harrison has been fined more than $200,000 in his 15-year NFL career, including a one-game suspension in 2002 for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Oakland's Jerry Rice that cost him a game check of $111,764.

Harrison earned his reputation honestly -- in poll after poll, opponents voted him the dirtiest player in the league. But his teammates loved him.

"He's out on the field, going full-speed all the time," Patriots defensive lineman Richard Seymour said. "If your top guys are doing that, it trickles down to the rest of the team."

Harrison also was a favorite of reporters, who knew he would be available and quotable, win or lose. Before the league announced his suspension on the eve of the 2007 season, Harrison scheduled a conference call and admitted that he took a banned substance and apologized for being a poor role model for kids.

Such honesty also served Harrison well as a TV analyst. After going on injured reserve last October, he worked for the NFL Network and on NBC's Super Bowl coverage.

NBC said Tuesday that it will hold a conference call on Wednesday to announce "talent" for the upcoming season. NBC spokesman Brian Walker declined to comment whether Harrison would be joining the network.

Harrison, 36, holds the NFL record for defensive backs with 30.5 sacks, and with 34 interceptions, he's the only player to have at least 30 of each.

"He'll be missed, believe me," Bruschi said.

Woods recalled joining the Patriots' defense as an undrafted free agent after the team won three Super Bowls in the previous five years and being told by Harrison, "You've got to be a dog out there."

"He'd want you to be a big dog," Woods said. "But even if you're a little dog, you've got to be a mean little sucker."

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