Rodney Harrison is a jerk who hates the Panthers. It’s nothing new to Carolina fans.
After starting 4-0, Rodney Harrison remained skeptical, stating, “they’re going to think I’m a hater, but the Carolina Panthers haven’t played anyone.” He may have begrudgingly apologized after Carolina defeated the Seattle Seahawks to extend their undefeated streak to five, but he wasn’t truly remorseful.
In the same breath, Harrison indignantly stated, “to be honest with you, do they come off as a Super Bowl contender right now? Not to me. And this is not because I hate them. They just don’t have enough weapons to me.”
Harrison has been known to stick his foot in his mouth. I mean he is the guy who, in 2013, called for Carolina to bench Cam Newton after a loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Carolina went 12-4 that year.
“Hater” Harrison has again
Josh Norman’s shutdown performance against Julio Jones in a 38-0 Panther victory. “If the entire situation was equal,” Harrison claimed, “with Julio Jones having a quality quarterback throwing to him, then I think Julio Jones wins that matchup because I just think he’s physically more superior than Josh.”
Norman didn’t appreciate Harrison’s comments, calling Harrison “horrible” at his job. Norman swung back:
Harrison has revealed his satisfaction trolling Panther fans, noting, “I know I have some fun with the fans and they’re tweeting me a bunch of stuff. They think I didn’t believe in the Panthers because I just have a hatred for the Panthers..”
Harrison wasn’t so light-hearted when it came to Norman’s vocal criticism, berating:
Those are what we call “fight’n words” in the South.
Norman is having a fantastic year. It’s a breakout year to most, but for those who follow the Panthers, this started last season. Norman finished the year strong, and shutting down Julio twice was a big part of it.
Norman’s breakout hasn’t been any run-of-the-mill breakout. His play has been dominant, and his rise to elite status meteoric. There’s a strong argument that he’s currently the best cornerback in the NFL and a viable Defensive Player of the Year candidate. So Harrison can deny Norman’s accusation that “he’s a bitter old man,” but to claim that Julio is clearly physically “superior” doesn’t appear well founded.
What does Harrison really mean by physically superior anyway? Does this mean Jones better fits the “superior” player archetype he has the college pedigree and name recognition? It can’t be on their play on the field alone.
In the last three meetings, Norman has held Jones to 17 catches, 205 yds, and 0 touchdowns. Given Jones has been the best receiver in football for two consecutive seasons, this qualifies as shutdown work. Jones hasn’t been able to get going against the Panthers as long as Norman is around. Any yards he has picked up have mainly been on zone formations, where Jones isn’t Norman’s assignment.
If Harrison believes his opinion that Julio is “physically superior” on what has happened between the lines, between these two guys, he’s just being a jerk about it. He may say he’s not bitter, but that is one sour face.
It’s not like we haven’t seen outbursts like this from Harrison before. In the midst of the Deflategate scandal, Harrison fielded a lot of questions about New England’s checkered, cheating past. Some former Panther players voiced that they believed the Patriots were stealing signals in the 2004 Super Bowl,
He also heard a lot of the outside chatter about the matter. When former Panther players publically declared their beliefs that New England was stealing signals, Harrison exploded:
It’s unbelievable,” Rodney Harrison railed in September as the Patriots came under close scrutiny for it’s willingness to push the boundaries of, well let’s say it--cheating. “Why is it so hard for these haters to sit back and give us credit that we had a great team? We had a great freakin' team."
The irony about this is that Harrison has dismissed the Carolina Panthers at every turn. It’s been the weak schedule, a Seahawks team clearly not themselves, and a team missing the weapons. Harrison’s dismissal of Norman’s performance against Julio Jones is just a more focused dismissal. It was because Jones doesn’t have a good enough quarterback, not because Josh Norman. Admit it Rodney, Josh Norman’s Carolina Panthers are just a “great freakin' team.”
By the Professor, aka Tony Dunn
Follow him on Twitter @Cat_Chronicles