Rodney Harrison is one of the NFL’s best safeties of the 2000s. He was a complete player that could cover, tackle, blitz and provide the heart-and-soul qualities that great defenses in the league usually have, and it shows because he appeared in four Super Bowl games, winning two of them.
Harrison was born in Chicago, IL, in 1972 where he was raised by a single mother, Barbara. He was also an all-conference selection in football, basketball and track while attending Marian Catholic High School.
An on-the-field personality — which at times didn’t sit the best with his fellow peers — has translated into a new career.
Here is what you need to know about Harrison:
1. He Was Originally Drafted by the San Diego Chargers
Harrison was the 145th overall pick in the 5th round of the 1994 NFL Draft. Ironically, although Harrison barely played as a rookie, the 1994-95 season was the only season that the Chargers would appear in the Super Bowl, eventually losing to the San Francisco 49ers 49-26.
2. Harrison Had a Successful NFL Career
Harrison was a two-time Pro Bowler (1998, 2001) and a four-time All-Pro (1998, 2001, 2003, 2004). He has been recognized by both the Chargers and Patriots 50th Anniversary teams.
Some other of Harrison’s noticeable accomplishments include:
– In 1997, he became first player in NFL history to score touchdowns on an interception return, fumble return and kickoff return in same season.
– He has the most sacks (30.5) of any defensive back in NFL history.
– His 7 playoff interceptions are a Patriots team record.
– He is one of 12 players in the history of the NFL to record at least 20 interceptions and 20 sacks in his career. The other members of this club are linebackers: Tom Jackson, Seth Joyner, Brian Urlacher, Wilber Marshall, William Thomas, Donnie Edwards, London Fletcher and Ray Lewis, safeties: Charles Woodson, LeRoy Butler, Brian Dawkins, Lawyer Milloy and Adrian Wilson, and cornerback: Ronde Barber.
– On October 21, 2007, he became the initial member of the 30/30 Club of players with both 30 interceptions and 30 sacks. He is joined by Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis.
3. Harrison is a Family Man Who Loves Giving Back to the Community
Harrison is married to his wife, Erika. Together, the couple has three children: Christian Harrison, Rodney Harrison Jr., Mikala Harrison.
In 1999, Harrison established the “Hard Hitters” Foundation to improve the quality of life and training for disadvantaged children.
4. The Rest of the NFL Voted Harrison the “Dirtiest Player” in 2004 and 2006
Harrison — after the 2nd time winning the dubious distinction — shrugged it off by transferring the dirty stigma into an “I play hard” stigma:
Do I take perverse pride in this? All I can say is as many guys as say I’m a dirty player, just as many come up and tell me they admire how I play, the hard work, the commitment, the toughness. That’s the pride you’re looking for. I take pride in that.
5. The Transition From Player to Broadcaster Has Come Easy for Harrison
The former safety has seamlessly made a transition from the playing field to the television booth. Along with former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy, Harrison is in the booth for “Sunday Night in America,” which is the program before the start of NBC’s Sunday Night Football telecasts.
In addition to television, Harrison has his own NBC Radio program called “Safety Blitz” that airs on Saturday mornings from 7 a.m. – 9 a.m.
Rodney Harrison can be found on Twitter here.