Rodney Harrison elaborates on criticism of Lions for not protecting quarterback

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While watching the Vikings batter and bruise Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford on Sunday from the NBC Sports viewing room, Rodney Harrison saw Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr apply a late hit out of bounds to Stafford, which sent the franchise quarterback skidding into the metal bench.

The hit was surprising, and the reaction from the Lions was, in Rodney’s opinion, shocking. Sure, there was some perfunctory jostling of Barr, but no one confronted him. Which prompted Rodney to call out the Lions during NBC’s Football Night in America.

“This is a cheap shot right here, and nobody comes to his defense except a rookie lineman,” Harrison said, via the Detroit Free Press. “This is crazy. This just shows me how much respect this team has for Matthew Stafford. Not a lot.”

Stafford addressed the remarks the next day.

“I thought it was a great response,” Stafford said on The Mitch Albom Show, via the Free Press. “I don’t know what Rodney wants us to do. If he wants us to have an all-out brawl, we can have an all-out brawl but then they’d just say it’s the same old Lions. I was proud of the guys’ response. We got the 15-yarder, we didn’t negate it by doing something stupid and at the same time we kind of got to let Anthony know how we felt about it.”

Which prompted a reply from Rodney on Tuesday’s Pro Football Talk on NBCSN.

“The number one rule among a great football team is always protect your quarterback,” Rodney said. “It’s on your sideline, a guy pushes your quarterback out of bounds, gives him a cheap shot. And Matthew Stafford may not think that that’s a big deal, but little things like that, they add up. They create a culture and attitude. And for me, I’m one of those guys where if that would have happened to Tom Brady, I would have punched that young guy right in his face, and I don’t care if cost me [$25,000] or $50,000. . . .

“Do you think the Patriots would let this happen or the Indianapolis Colts or the Denver Broncos to Peyton Manning? Never, not on his sideline. So as I much as I like Matthew Stafford because of his toughness and things of that sort, he’s wrong on this one.”

The league presumably appreciates the way the Lions handled the situation, especially with the emphasis this year on reducing fighting. Still, gratuitous efforts to take out the most important player on a given team at times need to be met with an equivalent or stronger response. Otherwise, those efforts will continue.

“If that’s my quarterback, whether or not I like him as a person, I’m gonna protect my quarterback. We have to have that guy for 16 weeks at least if we expect to make a run.”

To see and hear Rodney’s full comments, click the thing in the thing below.

52 responses to “Rodney Harrison elaborates on criticism of Lions for not protecting quarterback

  1. Without Rodney, would there have been THE Kurt Warner? Ask Trent Green about Rodney’s shot at his knees. Legal it was…until it was done to Brady.

  2. …lol, he said he would have pushed him in the face, and then Rodney would have gotten dropped!! What an idiot. Good game Vikes, we should have gotten some calls and they should have gotten some calls, oh well, we won! On to the next! SKOL!!!

  3. Well if the league thinks the Lions did the right thing, than we all know it was the wrong thing to do.

  4. docboss says:
    Sep 23, 2015 7:52 PM
    Without Rodney, would there have been THE Kurt Warner? Ask Trent Green about Rodney’s shot at his knees. Legal it was…until it was done to Brady.


    Thought it was after the Carson Palmer hit that it became illegal.

  5. Rodney Harrison dishes it out enough, but can’t take it. Anyone says anything remotely derogatory about the Patriots and Harrison loses his mind and gets super defensive or cries about it.

  6. You can’t compare Brady and Peyton to Stafford. No defensive player would ever, ever, do that to either player. If they did, you better believe it that a fight would start. What this incident tells me is the obvious – Stafford hasn’t shown enough on the field to demand respect from opposing players. I don’t fault his team for not getting in the way either because while he may be well liked, he’s not great enough to warrant a 15 yard penalty from a bunch of his players backing him up..because he isn’t Tom Brady or Peyton Manning.

  7. He’s got it right the league seems gun shy after the Brady incident, no suspension for Pacman no suspension for Suh. If all you give up is 15 yards and possibly and ejection for a backup to take out a starting QB, or wide receiver. Teams are gonna take that.

  8. Rodney is right.
    The vikings cheap shot of Stafford was a low down dirty loser’s play. You don’t let bottom feeder crap franchises take cheap shots at your QB.

  9. The Patriots would go through walls for Tom Brady and that’s Harrison’s point. Sometimes 15-yard penalties are just as not as important as sticking up for your QB.

  10. Oh and by the way, Stafford is also a punk on the field. Check out the youtube video of Stafford and DJ Moore. Stafford takes a cheap shot on DJ and all hell breaks loose. Everyone came to his defense back then…for something they shouldn’t have.

  11. As a Vikings fan, I have a hard time disagreeing with Harrison.
    And for all the idiots trying to rip Stafford, and claiming he’s not good enough to warrant his teammates having his back, you’re just wrong. He’s been the starting QB for that team for how long? And while he hasn’t become elite on the level of Brady or Peyton (a few years ago), he is a quality QB and stability at that position is hugely valuable to a franchise. Moreover, he has always played the game with a palpable desire to win (unlike a QB or two he’s faced off against in division rivalries), and he is one of the toughest QBs of his era. He puts his team first and hangs in there. He’s been able and willing to play through some absolutely brutal punishment over the years.
    Stafford is a quality NFL QB and the Lions are lucky to have him. His teammates need to understand what that means and what that demands of them.

  12. Stafford danced around the real issue Rodney brought up, that his teammates have little respect for him.

  13. The franchise QB takes a cheap shot when he gets shoved late as he’s already out of bounds into a wall and he’s the only one to get in Barr’s face and no one realizes that that’s a problem? I saw the play and I thought there was going to be a brawl and not only did nothing happen to Barr, Barr actually shoved Lions out of the way as he walked away without any reaction by them. Had he done that to Brady, Manning, Roethlisberger, Rivers or pretty much any other franchise QB the sideline would have exploded and there would at the very least have been a lot of pushing and yelling. The Lions didn’t react at all. Says all you need to know how they feel about Stafford. Rodney’s 100% right

  14. Since Clay Matthews is kind of the gold standard for cheap shotting quarterbacks, what do opposing teams do when he’s their quarterback / late dirty?

    I remember he couldn’t get away from Joe Staley fast enough after that late hit on Kap…

  15. The NFL told coach Zimmer the hit was legal. Stafford slowed down while approaching the sideline and Barr rightfully made sure he went out. Just a little shove. Skol

  16. Putting aside whatever feelings you have about the messenger for a moment think about it. How would you want your team to react? If that was Eli I know I would expect the fur to fly and damn the consequences. I doubt many of you would expect different

  17. Google “Brady rule knee” and see the articles by the NY Times and Regardless, Harrison’s hit gave Warner his chance. I believe he had a rep for play that was “aggressive”.

  18. Zimmer said today that an NFL official told him there shouldn’t have been a flag thrown on the play — so maybe that’s why Lions’ players didn’t over-react.

  19. What’s funny about this is that it wasn’t a cheap shot. The NFL told Zimmer that Barr’s hit should not have been called because Stafford was slowing down as he went out of bounds

  20. I’m confused…the league said it shouldn’t have been a penalty and yet you’re advocating that the Lions should have started a brawl over a legal hit?!

    Your defense of your colleague loses you credibility…

  21. Lost all this is that it was a shove out of bounds,not a hit, and if that were some other quarterbacks they would have jumped in Barrs face and pressed the issue, he didn’t. Read the article about Zimmer responding to a question if the Vikings are a dirty team.
    “Linebacker Anthony Barr had been penalized on Sunday for hitting quarterback Matthew Stafford out of bounds, and Zimmer criticized Barr for the hit on Monday, calling the play a “dumb penalty.” But Zimmer said an official told him Tuesday the play should not have been called a penalty and added, “I probably owe Anthony Barr an apology.

    “These quarterbacks now, they’re starting to slow down as they go out of bounds and kind of egging these things on,” Zimmer said. “That was one of the things [the official] talked about and he said, ‘Yeah, it probably should not have been called.'”

  22. Actually, the league has conceded that the officials made the wrong call.

    Stafford was easing up as he was going out of bounds and therefore loses the right of protection.

    So Rodney is wrong and should apologize, but I doubt that will happen.

    Thankfully, I don’t watch any of your silly videos.

  23. And what would Rodney say if the Pats got a 15 yard penalty to their benefit by not retaliating? He would say the Pats are playing smart football. No bigger biased azz clown than Rodney Harrison.

  24. Harrison is right. If anyone tried that to Brady, they’d end up as servants at Belichick’s house, wearing wigs and speaking in falsetto like those guys that get “altered” in Ice Pirates.

  25. Somebody will be thrown out of the club and beyond if some fool did that to Brady.

    So you got a 15 yarder. Worth is relative.

  26. Firstly, when you have Stafford the game is not over when 16 points behind in the 4th quarter. So drawing a penalty would be stupid.

    Secondly, I don’t know what Harrison means the Lions should have done? Barr got a pretty big shove from Pettigrew on the sideline before the coaches interweened.

    Thirdly, Harrison might not have noticed, but the NFL has put the spotlight on fighting. What got him a slap on the wrist might get someone a suspension now.

  27. get over yourself bob.

    the only decent player on your bottom feeder loser defense is a cheapshot artist. not to mention your entire pompus arrogant delusional franchise is one injury from scott tolzien and a 2-14 record. prick.

  28. whoops…

    Zimmer said he talked to league office and was told the PF penalty on Barr probably shouldn’t have been called because Stafford slowed down

  29. Stafford has played well this year, tipped ball interceptions happen but something else is wrong with this team…. You have a pretty talented offensive line but you only run the ball like 10 times vs the Vikings… They had no respect to our run, not because we couldn’t pick up yards but we completely neglected it. Stafford is one tough mofo, but he won’t last to much longer if we drop back and throw it 60 times a game

  30. What Rodney did not consider in his analysis is that the Vikings are a cheap shot team so that is expected when you play them. Maybe the Lions were coached up to avoid confrontation and take the 15 yard penalties because as sure as the sun will rise in the East, the Vikings will be taking the cheap shots. You don’t consistently finish last in the NFCN without imploding from within.

  31. First off Stafford was still in bounds. Did he need to be shoved out of bounds? No, but its still tackle football.
    Does Harrison have some inside information or just speaking from the wrong end again?

  32. I think Rodney Harrison was a warrior. I loved having him on the Patriots … but one thing… why couldn’t he free the damn ball from from Davis Tyree’s helmet…

    Why Rodney???

  33. Maybe the LIons players on the sideline, just like the NFL now has admitted, didn’t think it was a cheap shot. So, to what is there to react?

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