Rodney Harrison Hangs It Up

Benjamin AltsherContributor IJune 3, 2009

FOXBORO, MA - AUGUST 22: Rodney Harrison #37 of the New England Patriots  faces the Philadelphia Eagles during preseason action at Gillette Stadium on August 22, 2008 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Rodney Harrison's been called many things throughout his career in the NFL: dirty, cheap, a cheater, underhanded. But the one word that describes him best is great.

The safety called it a career today after playing just 31 games over the past four seasons due to an assortment of injuries and suspensions.  Even though his play over 15 seasons could be deemed controversial at times, you won't find a head coach, past or present, who wouldn't want Harrison on his team.

He is the only player in NFL history with more than 30 sacks and interceptions—quite an accomplishment when you consider the importance that the safety position has taken over in the past decade alone.

Don't expect Harrison to fade quietly away from the spotlight, however.  He is set to join NBC Sports as an NFL analyst for this upcoming season.  It's hard to imagine a better fit for a player who, whenever he protested a fine for an illegal hit, stated his case with the eloquence of a seasoned debater.

There's no doubt Harrison will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, even though I believe his career in the NFL is only beginning.  If he chooses to stay an analyst, I'll be entertained by him.

However, Harrison would also make an excellent coach, especially now that safeties—not linebackers—are the keys to the defense.  A few years ago Harrison even enrolled in the NFL referee internship program and could still be on the field Sunday—only in stripes.

No matter what you think about Harrison, his questionable play, or even his suspension for HGH use (which he's still broken up about), you can't deny his talent.  He's one of the greatest ever to play and thankfully for Rodney Harrison it's not goodbye, but see you later.

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