Rodney Harrison was at a career crossroads in 2003, searching for his next team after the San Diego Chargers released him.
Harrison spent his first nine years as an NFL player with the Chargers, and at this point in his career a lot of people thought he was essentially done as a quality safety.
The veteran defensive back ultimately found a home with the New England Patriots, and there was one moment in particular that made him realize Foxboro was the place for him.
Harrison explained during the second episode of the ESPN+ Tom Brady documentary titled "Man in the Arena".
“I remember warming up and hitting one of my guys and knocking his helmet off,” Harrison said, referring to a pregame moment from a 2002 matchup between the Chargers and Patriots.
"Coach Belichick, when I was sitting in his office, he sat down and he said, ‘I remember in warm-ups you hit that guy and knocked his helmet off.’ I said, ‘You remember that?’ That little attention to detail, that was the key moment that made me sign with the Patriots because I said, ‘This guy sees everything. If he saw that and he remembers that, this is where I want to be.’ I looked at my agent and I said, ‘Let’s work out a deal.'”
Harrison, with his toughness, leadership and excellent play at safety, played a very important role on the Patriots defense in the six seasons he spent in New England from 2003 through 2008. He was especially impactful in 2003 and 2004 when the Patriots won back-to-back Super Bowl titles.
Coming to New England revived his career and established him as one of the top defensive players of his era. He definitely made the right choice believing that Belichick could extend his career during that pivotal 2003 offseason.