New England Patriots

New England Patriots

New England Patriots

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 12: Rodney Harrison #37 of the New England Patriots talks to Chad Johnson #85 of the Cincinnati Bengals after Johnson was unable to catch a ball in the end zone at Gillette Stadium on December 12, 2004 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Patriots won 35-28. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Earlier this week, former New England Patriots safety Rodney Harrison was named a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2024. Harrison has been on the ballot for almost a decade, but this is his first time reaching the finalist round.

Harrison is viewed by many as a Hall of Fame snub. We’ve made his case on here before numerous times.


Top prospects for Patriots fans to watch in the College Football Playoff
The Broncos are feeling the impact of their loss to the Patriots
Current Alabama quarterback calls out Bill O’Brien

Unfortunately, radio station sportswriters don’t have a ton of sway with the Pro Football Hall of Fame voting committee. But you know who might?

Bill Belichick.

Belichick has shown in the past he has some influence in the voting process. In 2019 he wrote the committee in support of former Patriots Ty Law and Richard Seymour, who both eventually got inducted.

On Friday, Belichick was asked about Harrison’s candidacy this year. If Belichick’s pitch to the committee for Harrison is even half as emphatic as the way he spoke about him when answering the question, it’s hard to see how Harrison doesn’t get in.

“Best safety I’ve coached,” Belichick began. “There’s a couple other ones that I’ve coached that are in the Hall of Fame. But, a fantastic player, person, great competitor, could do it all. One of the most versatile players I’ve ever coached. He could cover. He really could play corner. He was a great blitzer, he was a great tackler. Was really, really, really hard to block in a running game as a blitzer, kickoff coverage, things like that. He’s very explosive, 220 pounds, whatever he was, he was a thumper. He was a contact player but ran well. Very instinctive, did a great job disguising coverages.”

  • Mike Reiss on Twitter: "Bill Belichick on Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist @Rodney_Harrison: Best safety I've ever coached ... on my all-time team. / Twitter"

    Bill Belichick on Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist @Rodney_Harrison: Best safety I've ever coached ... on my all-time team.

    “He’s one of the best I’ve ever coached. He’d certainly been on my my all-time team, without question,” Belichick continued. While he declined to give the rest of his all-time team, Belichick added Harrison would be joined by Lawrence TaylorTom BradyRob Gronkowski, and Matthew Slater.

    Still, Belichick wasn’t done raving about Harrison.

    “Tremendous player, great practice player too,” Belichick said. “Made everybody else on the team better. If you practice against him, you got better or you got embarrassed – one of the two. He brought a level of competitiveness, intensity, focus. Brought a higher level of practice to the team, which helped everybody. There’s a lot of things that don’t don’t ever show up in the stats or anything like that. Tremendous, tremendous respect for what he did as a player, what he brought to our team, how much it meant to our team.”

    Continuing on the same answer, Belichick reflected on when Harrison retired after the 2008 season.

    “What we lost when we lost him – we lost a great, great player. Monday through Monday. It wasn’t just on Sunday. What he brought to the team every day of the week, every day he walked in the building, every time he stepped on the field was all positive and impressive.”

    “So I certainly hope he gets recognized” Belichick concluded. “I think he he definitely deserves it. This guy’s a great football player and a great teammate.”

  • NBC Sports Boston's Patriots Coverage on Twitter: ""He's in a very unique category... he's been as productive as anybody has ever been at his position." Bill Belichick makes case for Matthew Slater as a Hall of Fame candidate / Twitter"

    "He's in a very unique category... he's been as productive as anybody has ever been at his position." Bill Belichick makes case for Matthew Slater as a Hall of Fame candidate

    Harrison wasn’t the only player to get the Hall of Fame treatment from Belichick on Friday. In addition, Belichick also discussed Slater’s eventual case, after calling him “just about the perfect player.”

    “I think Slater really is eventually going to be a Hall of Fame candidate,” Belichick said. “As a coverage player, not as a specialist. I mean, for what he is and he’s not a returner. So he’s in a very unique category, one that I don’t think is represented in the Hall of Fame. But based on what he did during his career, the length of time he did it, and at the level he’s done it – and again, since there’s no criteria for the Hall of Fame, there’s no criteria.”

    “But I would say this guy is as productive as anybody has ever been at his position throughout his entire career, which is very lengthy,” he continued. “So, I think he’s the best that it’s ever done what he’s done. Whether that’s Hall of Fame worthy or not, is – that’s a different subject that I’m not – I don’t have a say in. But I can’t imagine putting anybody in there ahead of him at that position.”

    Harrison’s Hall of Fame fate (for this year) will be revealed in a few weeks, when the Hall announces the Class of 2024 during Super Bowl week. As for Slater, he’ll first be eligible five years after he retires – whenever that ultimately is.

  • Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at [email protected].

Sign me up for the 98.5 The Sports Hub email newsletter!

Get the latest Boston sports news and analysis, plus exclusive on-demand content and special giveaways from Boston's Home for Sports, 98.5 The Sports Hub.

By clicking "Subscribe" I agree to the website's terms of Service and Privacy Policy. I understand I can unsubscribe at any time.