LOWELL, Mass. -- Had Duron Harmon not gone into professional football following his playing days at Rutgers, he told a group of campers at Sports International Football Camp on Wednesday, he would have pursued a career in law. He was a labor studies major in college, and he was interested in becoming a labor attorney if he couldn't find a home in the NFL.
His football path panned out, of course, and now he's headed into his fourth year as a member of the Patriots safety group. Still, like many in New England, there's one very high-profile ongoing labor case that he's paying attention to.
When asked for his reaction to the Second Circuit's decision not to grant Patriots quarterback Tom Brady a rehearing, upholding Brady's four-game suspension, Harmon expressed a measure of disbelief and disappointment.
"It's just crazy that it all came to this," Harmon said. "It's disappointing . . . I don't want to speak for Tom at all, but seeing him deal with this is frustrating. But I mean, I know Tom's a competitor. He's a leader. He's gonna get through this and he's gonna overcome it all at the end of the day."
Harmon said he has not been a day-to-day, hour-to-hour consumer of Deflategate coverage. But he has followed it closely enough to know that Brady could take his case to the Supreme Court. He also understands that backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo could be given an opportunity to start the first four games of the season.
Regardless of how Brady's case plays out from here, Harmon explained, he'll have faith in whoever is behind center Week 1.
"We just gotta be able to go with whoever's going to be available to us," he said. "If it's Tom, then great. If it's Jimmy, then great as well. We feel like they're both . . . Tom, he's one of the greatest quarterbacks ever, if not the best. And we feel like Jimmy's a good quarterback, too. Whoever's under center, we feel comfortable going to war with them."
Harmon has seen Garoppolo progress from a second-round rookie out of Eastern Illinois into a third-year pro, and though he has attempted just 31 career passes (including four last season), Garoppolo has done enough behind the scenes to earn the faith of his teammates.
"I can tell you that he's working hard each and every day," Harmon said. "He goes out there, you can tell he cares about football. He's getting better so, like I said, I'm excited. If the opportunity is for him to start, man, I'm excited for him."
If Brady is forced to miss games -- he still has the option to ask for a stay that would put his suspension on hold -- it won't solely be up to Garoppolo to shoulder the load. The rest of the Patriots offense, their special teams units, and their defense, Harmon insisted, will have to do their part as well.
"I'm really confient," Harmon said. "Not just in [Garoppolo], but in this team in general. We feel like we have a good group of players. I feel we just gotta continue to work hard going into training camp. I mean I really love the defense that I play for. And with Coach [Matt] Patricia leading us and with Dant'a [Hightower] and [Devin McCourty] and Jamie [Collins]. I love playing with those guys, man.
"We got a real talented group. I feel like we could all just speak up a little bit more, [pick up] a little bit of slack. I feel like we'll be all right."