Rodney Harrison expected to retire

After garnering little to no interest on the free agent market, former Patriots safety Rodney Harrison is expected to retire.

One of the most storied players in Patriots [team stats] history, Harrison will be introduced as the newest member of NBC’s broadcast team during a conference call tomorrow, according to a source with knowledge of Harrison’s plans.

And while the possibility of a comeback can never be discounted, Harrison is already on record that when he walks away from the game, it will be for good.

Reached this afternoon, an NBC spokesman declined comment. NBC Sports Chairman Dick Ebersol will hold a conference call tomorrow at noon to announce the network’s new talent, and Harrison is expected to be on that call.

“If that’s what he chooses to do, he’ll be great,” Sanders said. “He’s very photogenic. He talks well, carries himself well, speaks real proper. He looks like he was born for the camera.”

A lot of people considered Harrison to be one of the dirtiest players in the game, but there’s no denying he went hard every game and left it all on the field. He was always in great shape (which is why he played so long), always played hard and always demonstrated excellent leadership.

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Top 10 Super Bowl Finishes

The Love of Sports compiled a list of the top 10 Super Bowl finishes of all-time.

Super Bowl XLII2. Super Bowl XLII: New York Pulls Off Giant Upset (2007)
Maybe it was due to the historical implications, with New England looking to go down as the greatest team in NFL history, but the ending was epic and had fans on the edge of their seats (and couches) with history unfolding in front of their eyes. The Giants were a resilient bunch late in the game to pull off the upset and secure its place as the second most exciting finish. Eli Manning, of course, drove his team downfield with 35 seconds left after Randy Moss helped the undefeated Patriots take a 14-10 lead. Similar to the Patriots-Panthers game in ’03, there wasn’t much scoring early, as both teams could only muster points on their first possessions of the game. The AFC representatives only led 7-3 at the half on the strength of a Laurence Maroney score, but it was the quest for an undefeated season that kept things intriguing – until late in the fourth quarter when both teams marched up and down the field Down 10-7 after David Tyree put New York on top, Tom Brady engineered an 80-yard touchdown drive, after the Giants defensive line shut him down during the first three and a half quarters. Moss’ six-yard TD catch crushed the hearts of those anti-Patriots supporters, seemingly sealing the deal. The Patriots looked destined for perfection, but the student (Eli) beat the master (Brady). Eli, taking a page out of Peyton’s book, calmly marched his offense down the field in the final two minutes. He eluded three Patriot defenders to set up Tyree’s unbelievable one-handed-to-helmet catch before Plaxico Burress’ game-winning score. 21 points were tallied in the final frame to make it a great finish, with the Giants winning 17-14 in arguably the second greatest upset in Super Bowl history.

1. Super Bowl XXXVIII: Vinatieri’s Second Act (2003)
A game that was so dull in the first quarter and a half, with neither team scoring until late second quarter amidst a tight defensive battle, turned out to be the best finishes ever. A 14-10 halftime score was met by another scoreless quarter in the third before the fun really began. After an Antowain Smith two-yard TD run to open the fourth, the Panthers’ offense can alive on its next two possessions. The latter of which resulted in a thrilling 85-yard catch and run by Muhsin Muhammad into the end-zone to give Carolina its first lead, 22-21, with a little under seven minutes left. This was just the start of something special under the domed Reliant Stadium in Houston! Mike Vrabel was the recipient of his first of two career Super Bowl touchdowns to put the Patriots back on top, ahead 29-22 with 2:51 remaining. Just over a minute left in the game, Delhomme marched the Panthers downfield and hit Ricky Proehl to tie it up (his second game-tying TD against New England). At this point, the game was almost destined for overtime. But then, Carolina kicker John Kasay makes the mistake of his life, booting it out of bounds with 14 seconds left to give Tom Brady prime field position – and we all know what he can do in the two-minute drill. He put the Pats in field-goal range and Adam Vinatieri did his thing with another game-winning kick with no time on the clock. New England won its second title in three years with a 32-29 victory to cap off the greatest ending to any Super Bowl.

Considering the amount of points scored in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XXXVIII, I could see why the boys at TLOS would choose that finish as the best. But last year’s ending with Eli avoiding the sack, Tyree’s catch and Burress’s game-winning score was my top finish. Given the magnitude of the Patriots’ undefeated season being on the line, that was one of the best Super Bowls ever played and that finish got your heart racing. Either way – this is a great list.

NFL News & Notes: Larry Johnson to sit again

– Chiefs’ RB Larry Johnson is likely to be suspended or inactive for Sunday’s game following an investigation that he recently spat in a woman’s face at a Kansas City nightclub. (

– Broncos’ CB Champ Bailey will miss 4-6 weeks after suffering a torn groin in Denver’s loss to the Patriots on Monday night. (

– Tony Romo will not play in the Cowboys’ game this Sunday against Tampa Bay and could be out at least two more weeks with a broke pinkie finger. (Dallas Morning News)

– The Cleveland Browns have suspended Kellen Winslow one game for his rant Monday against GM Phil Savage and coach Romeo Crennel. Winslow questioned the team’s handling of his staph infection. (

– Patriots’ safety Rodney Harrison’s season is over. He tore a quad muscle Monday in New England’s win over Denver and the injury likely will end his 15-year NFL career. (

Patriots’ secondary looks less than super on paper

In the weeks leading up to the kickoff the 2008 NFL Season, I’ll take a look at position groups that could potentially lift teams to new heights, or bury them and their postseason hopes. Thursday I take a look at the New England Patriots and their potential issues in the secondary.

It would be naïve to think that the New England Patriots won’t contend for another AFC East crown, the postseason or a Super Bowl appearance. They’re still the franchise all other teams gun for and certainly should be the favorites to win Super Bowl XLII.

But has anyone taken a look at the Pats’ secondary this year?

When cornerback Asante Samuel signed a multi-million dollar deal with the Eagles in the offseason, there was virtually no panic in New England. And why should there have been? Bill Belichick’s defensive scheme allows any player – first rounder or street free agent – to be plugged into the starting lineup and succeed. The system is set up to win as a team, instead of relying on a couple of individual players to dominate. And as the results have shown over the years, the system works.

But the Patriots haven’t had a good start to 2008. Not only is the former Pro Bowler Samuel in Philly, but projected starters Rodney Harrison and James Sanders have also missed significant camp time this summer. The team recently signed former Buc and Bronco veteran John Lynch to help fix the leak at safety. Granted Lynch is a tremendous leader who brings loads of experience to the field, but due to his limitations in coverage he puts a lot of pressure on either Sanders or second year player Brandon Merriweather to cover more ground from the free safety position.

The news isn’t entirely bleak for the Pats’ secondary. Several publications have noted how comfortable Merriweather looks in his second year and corner Ellis Hobbs is vastly underrated (although he was abused by Plaxico Burress in the Super Bowl and is also coming off two early-offseason surgeries). But who will play opposite Hobbs? Veteran Jason Webster is on his last legs and Fernando Bryant is arguably best suited to play nickel at this point in his career. Maybe they’ll find a gem in rookies Terrence Wheatley and Jonathan Wilhite, but regardless, there’s a ton of uncertainty in the Pats secondary at this point in preseason.

Tom Brady is back. Randy Moss is back. Bill Belichick is back. Make no mistake – the Patriots are once again the team to beat in the NFL. But just like Brady and the offensive line were exposed by the Giants in last January’s Super Bowl, watch for opposing teams to try and attack New England’s secondary in 2008. And if injuries continue to mount in the defensive backfield, we could be looking at a very vulnerable Patriots’ defense this season.

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