Harrison confirms suspension

Posted on August 31, 2007 
Filed Under Uncategorized

Moments ago on a conference call with reporters, veteran safety Rodney Harrison confirmed the ESPN report that he will be suspended for the first four games of the regular season because of a violation of the NFL policy on banned substances.

Harrison was adamant about the fact that he did not take steroids, but he said he did admit to commissioner Roger Goodell that he “did, in fact, use a banned substance” in hopes of “accelerating the healing process of injuries I sustained while playing football.”

Over the last few seasons, Harrison has been dogged by injury, ultimately spending more time on the sidelines than on the field. He played in just 10 games last season because of injuries to his right knee (against the Titans) and right shoulder (against the Colts). In 2005, he played in only three games after tearing the ACL, MCL and PCL in his left knee in a game against the Steelers.

“I haven’t made excuses nor will I make excuses,” Harrison told reporters. “I made a mistake and I’m very sorry for that. I understand that I’m a role model to high school to college, to young kids.

“I don’t condone my decision, my behavior. I’m very, very embarrassed by it. I’m disappointed in myself and to any young person, any high schooler, any college athlete I sent the wrong message with my actions. And I would ask and I would want to be the example for them to never jeopardize what they believe in and never jeopardize their health. And they always have to love themselves.”

Harrison did not take questions.

Harrison will sit for the first four games of the regular season — he’ll miss the games against the Jets (Sept. 9), Chargers (Sept. 16), Bills (Sept. 23) and Bengals (Oct. 1). The loss of Harrison will likely be felt the hardest in Week Two and Week Four — San Diego and Cincinnati have the strongest offenses of the four opponents New England will face over the first full month of the season.

It’s unlikely the suspension will not throw the New England secondary into a state of panic. Because Harrison has struggled with injury the last few seasons, the Patriots have gotten used to life without him. If Eugene Wilson is healthy enough, he will likely start at one of the safety positions, while either rookie Brandon Meriweather (who saw plenty of action at safety in the preseason finale against the Giants) or third-year man James Sanders will start at the other safety spot.

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