Patriots

Rodney Harrison: Fan vote makes call to Patriots Hall a special one

Rodney Harrison: Fan vote makes call to Patriots Hall a special one

Given the choice of red or gold, Rodney Harrison will take the blazer that would fit right in at your company Christmas party.

The two-time Super Bowl champion safety was announced as this year's inductee to the Patriots Hall of Fame on Monday. Now an NFL analyst and radio host for NBC Sports, Harrison told reporters on a conference call that this latest honor meant more to him than if he was enshrined in Canton.

"I’m very grateful for the fans," Harrison said. "The fact that the fans voted me in, it means more to me than say the Pro Football Hall of Fame because the fans got a chance to see me play every week. They got a chance to see the story, and see the injuries, and the adversity and the comeback and the plays that were made, and the passion that was shown. They’re not going by reputation or rumors or anything like that, so it really meant a lot to me, the fact that the fans voted me in."

Harrison was one of three finalists to be inducted in 2019. Fans had the opportunity to choose between him, Mike Vrabel or Richard Seymour. Harrison, who will be the 29th person inducted, said he was surprised to be the choice. It was his first year as a finalist, whereas Vrabel and Seymour -- both of whom have three rings as Patriots -- have been finalists in years past.

"It was kind of shocking to me," Harrison said. "I said, ‘OK, the fans get an opportunity to vote now, but you know what, those guys are longer tenured guys. Maybe they vote them in.’ I was thinking more so Richard and I was just saying, you know what, it doesn’t even matter at this point. We won championships together but I’m very happy that the fans, they saw through everything, and they voted me. I’m still kind of shocked because I didn’t expect it. Wow."

Harrison, as Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran explained, was one of the driving forces of the franchise that was able to pick itself up off the ground following a disappointing 2002 campaign to win Super Bowls in 2003 and 2004.

"His most important contribution," Curran wrote, "was putting the paddles to the chest of the franchise in 2003 when he was signed in the offseason. In July and August of 2003 Harrison was the catalyst for re-infusing the team with the vicious, competitive temperament it had in 2001 but which waned in 2002."

Asked for his proudest moment as a member of the Patriots, Harrison recalled the jolt he provided the team upon his arrival.

"I came in and ruffled a few feathers and that was always a great moment for me because I went into unfamiliar territory," he said. "Denver wanted me and they were offering a lot more money and I just decided once I met with Scott Pioli and Coach [Bill] Belichick, I knew the Patriots were the answer. I knew I did the right thing when I decided to come to New England."

Harrison may not have thought he had a shot at being named a Hall of Famer this year, but it's fitting that he'll be inducted this year after a career spent exceeding expectations. 

"I’m just really excited man," he said. "You just have no idea, coming from being a little kid in Markham, Illinois when people your whole life have told you, ‘You can’t, you’re too small, you’re too skinny, you’re not fast enough, you’re not tall enough, you don’t go to Ohio State, you don’t go to Michigan, you go to Western Illinois.’ 

"I’ve heard that my entire career and to continue to fight and claw, I just want to be able to use my example to young kids and people that struggle with their confidence, to encourage them. You’ve just got to keep working, you’ve got to continue to believe in yourself, continue to fight and claw for everything that you get and you never can become complacent. And that’s the example that I try to set for my kids and kids in the community and that’s important to me, that’s what I stand for."

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Roger Goodell gives update on Antonio Brown, 17-game season, NFL officiating and more

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USA TODAY Sports

Roger Goodell gives update on Antonio Brown, 17-game season, NFL officiating and more

The NFL's Fall League Meeting took place Wednesday in Florida, where commissioner Roger Goodell answered questions on a number of different topics after the session had concluded.

These topics included the CBA, Antonio Brown, tanking and, of course, the officiating we've witnessed this season.

Here are the notable updates from Goodell:

Antonio Brown
The NFL is still investigating various allegations made against Antonio Brown. 

The veteran wide receiver tweeted "Free AB" on Wednesday, suggesting he wants to return to football. Brown has not played for any team since the New England Patriots released him on Sept. 20 amid several off-the-field concerns.

17-game schedule
The NFL reportedly abandoned hope for an 18-game schedule, but a 17-game slate remains in play. But even if an extra game was added, the regular season schedule would still start after the Labor Day holiday.

Officiating
Monday night's game between the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions was marred by two controversial penalties. Both flags happened in the second half and went against Lions defensive lineman Trey Flowers. The Packers scored a combined 10 points on these two drives, including a game-winning 23-yard field goal as time expired. The backlash on social media to the officiating in this game was quite fierce, with many current and former players weighing in. 

CBA talks
The current collective bargaining agreement expires after the 2020 season. The league and the NFL Players' Association already are negotiating in an effort to avoid any potential work stoppage.

Dolphins tanking?
The Dolphins are 0-6 and could become the first team since the 2008 Lions to go an entire season without winning a single game. Miami's best chance might have been Sunday's Week 6 matchup against the Washington Redskins, where the Dolphins went for a 2-point conversion on the final play trailing 17-16. The playcall was a bad one and the Dolphins failed to convert, prompting even more talk about Miami tanking for the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Goodell doesn't see any tanking going on, though.

Draft Lottery
One of the ways to combat tanking is to implement a draft lottery system, similar to what the NBA and NHL use. The NFL is not considering that kind of change at this time, however.


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Fantasy football Week 7 buy low/sell high: Trade Tom Brady

Fantasy football Week 7 buy low/sell high: Trade Tom Brady

We've reached the halfway point in the fantasy football regular season, which means time is of the essence when it comes to building a lineup that can propel you to and through the playoffs.

You don't want to be the guy in your league sitting back while everyone else makes trades to improve their rosters. Fantasy football championships aren't won during the draft, they're won now via smart waiver wire moves and risky blockbuster deals. It's time to be aggressive and separate yourself from the pack.

So with all of that being said, here's your list of buy-low and sell-high candidates for Week 7:

BUY LOW

Le'Veon Bell, RB, New York Jets: Bell's been OK so far this season, but definitely disappointing to those who drafted him expecting the elite production he's shown in the past. Now's the time to capitalize on that disappointment as Bell's schedule for the rest of the season is extremely attractive. I wouldn't bet against him being a top-5 running back from here on out, especially now that Sam Darnold is back to stabilize the Jets offense.

Devin Singletary, RB, Buffalo Bills: Singletary is set to return from injury this week vs. the lowly Dolphins with Buffalo fresh off their bye. This may be the last week you'll be able to snag him for dirt cheap, so don't miss your opportunity.

Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints: Kamara's streak of underwhelming performances, combined with the "high ankle issue" he's currently dealing with, may have his fantasy owner feeling uneasy. Any time a player as talented as Kamara sees a dramatic dip in value, you should swoop in and take a chance on them. That's especially the case if your team is in good enough shape where you can afford a couple of regular-season losses.

A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals: He should be returning soon from the ankle injury that has kept him sidelined all season. When he does, there's no reason to believe he won't be the top-tier receiver he's been throughout his career. Who knows, maybe Green will end up catching passes from Tom Brady. That'd certainly increase his value even further.

DeAndre Hopkins., WR, Houston Texans: The consensus No. 1 WR in 2019 fantasy football drafts has been a major disappointment through the first half of the season. But Hopkins is just far too talented to believe the struggles will continue. Buy low on him now and he could prove to be a league winner by the time playoffs come around.

John Brown, WR, Buffalo Bills: Brown is one of the more underrated wide receivers in fantasy football right now. He shouldn't be treated as a WR1, but I think a case can be made for Brown turning in WR2 value for the rest of the season. Josh Allen's primary target has an easy schedule in the coming weeks as he'll go up against Miami, Philadelphia, Washington, Cleveland, and then Miami again in his next five games.

SELL HIGH

Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots: Before the season, Brady was outside the top 20 in many fantasy football QB rankings. He's proven those rankings wrong up to this point as he's been a legitimate QB1, but that's largely due to the fact he's had phenomenal matchups. The schedule gets a bit tougher soon, and there are plenty of other serviceable options for QBs out there. So if you need depth at other positions, offer TB12 to a QB-needy owner in your league (or just a diehard Pats fan who surely will overpay) and see what you can get.

Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns: Before you yell at me because Chubb has been an absolute beast this season and is probably the heart of your fantasy team, hear me out. Kareem Hunt will return from his suspension in Week 10 and undoubtedly will eat into Chubb's workload, especially on passing downs. I'm not saying Chubb will suddenly stop being productive once Hunt enters the equation, but he'll no longer be the workhorse back he's been for the first half of the campaign. That being said, don't just trade Chubb for the sake of trading him. When I say sell high here, I mean sell high.

James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers: Conner was stellar vs. the Chargers on Monday Night Football before leaving the game in the third quarter with a quad injury. Before that performance, you would have been hard-pressed to find a trade partner for the Steelers' feature back. That likely is no longer the case, so you should be actively looking for a way to get a nice return for Conner as he probably won't put up those kinds of numbers consistently in this unreliable offense. Especially given the fact he's been getting banged up all season.

Calvin Ridley, WR, Atlanta Falcons: Ridley's touchdowns make him difficult to part ways with but the volume simply hasn't been there for the Alabama product. Sell him now and get a decent haul before he puts up another string of dud weeks.

Terry McLaurin, WR, Washington Redskins: New head coach Bill Callahan wants to run the ball more. That, combined with the Redskins being a horrendous team with a tough schedule ahead, makes a talented player like McLaurin worth parting ways with while his value is still high.

Patriots D/ST: Everything we said in last week's buy-low, sell-high still applies.

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