Retired after the 2008 season, Rodney Harrison would still be playing if he had been playing under today’s rules.
That’s what Rodney told Luke Hughes of NESN.com as Rodney prepares to return to Massachusetts to be honored by Boston Sports Museum at the 11th annual “The Tradition” on Wednesday, at the TD Garden.
“They’ve cut down on a lot of these hits in minicamps, training camps and padded practices and all the physical contact during the season,” Harrison said. “If I were playing right now in this era, I could probably play 20 years
because we wouldn’t have all of those physical contact practices.”
Given that his “era” ended only a few years ago, it demonstrates how quickly the game has changed. And it invites speculation as to how long the star players of today will be able to play, if they’re now enduring less wear and tear away from games.
“We’re different than basketball, we’re different than baseball,” Harrison said. “We hit every single day and your body needs a break, your head needs a break. So I think they’re making steps in the right direction.”
Speaking of basketball and baseball, Harrison will be honored Wednesday along with former Celtic great Robert Parrish and former Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez.
“[W]hen they said it I thought it was all but a joke. ‘Like I’m getting honored? For what?’ But I know that it’s a big deal, and I really appreciate all the respect and love. I really love the Boston fans and this award and what it means to me and my family and all the hard work I put out on that field.”
The best news is that, under today’s rules, the next Rodney Harrison will be able to spend a lot more time playing the game he loves at a high level.