Patriots notebook

Harrison: Brady comment was in jest

By Michael Vega and Christopher L. Gasper
Globe Staff / October 6, 2009

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FOXBOROUGH - Tom Brady said yesterday he wasn’t bothered by comments former teammate Rodney Harrison, now an NBC analyst, made about a pair of roughing-the-passer penalties Brady drew from the Baltimore Ravens.

In a halftime segment during Sunday night’s Steelers-Chargers game, Harrison took issue with a roughing-the-passer penalty against the Ravens’ Terrell Suggs, who was penalized after grazing Brady’s knee, and termed it a “horrible call.’’

Harrison added: “Tom Brady, if you’re listening, take off the skirt and put on some slacks. Toughen up.’’

“Rodney’s like my brother,’’ Brady told WEEI yesterday. “I love Rodney. There’s nothing Rodney could ever say that would bother me. He’s one of my great friends and teammates. If I was a football player, I’d want to be Rodney Harrison. There’s nobody that played the game like Rodney. He played with all heart.

“It’s fun to see him on TV. He hits as hard on TV as he did when he was playing, which is hard to believe. But he finds a way to get after everybody.’’

Harrison told WEEI later he sent Brady a text message saying he “was going to bust his chops,’’ and was stunned when he received “about 30 e-mails and 30 texts’’ complaining about his comments.

“My gosh, it’s unbelievable, the kind of backlash with this,’’ Harrison said. “Tom and I, we’ve been friends for years. There’s no other person, no other football player, maybe other than Junior Seau, that I have more respect for.

“It was a joke, and everyone’s getting all bent out of shape,’’ Harrison said. “This guy’s directly responsible for me having two Super Bowl rings on my fingers, and you think I’m going to call him out?

“It’s one thing to criticize a guy if he’s not playing well. But to question a guy like Tom Brady, who I feel like is one of the toughest guys I’ve ever been around . . . it’s totally absurd, ridiculous, that people would actually think that I would take a shot at Tom Brady.’’

Seau on radar
Coach Bill Belichick acknowledged the team’s interest in the 40-year-old Seau.

“He did have a physical,’’ Belichick told WEEI. “We haven’t done anything yet. Is it a possibility? Yes.’’

WEEI asked Belichick about Seau’s contention that he only had six games in him this season.

“I don’t know about all that,’’ Belichick said. “If a player is playing he is playing whether it’s four games, six games, eight games, or 10 games. That’s what it is. I haven’t talked to Junior about that. I don’t really know anything about the four-game, six-game, 10-game thing.’’

Back and forth
The Ravens reclaimed linebacker Prescott Burgess, plucking him from the Patriots’ practice squad and adding him to their active roster, according to an NFL source. The Patriots acquired Burgess Sept. 22 from the Ravens, who were going to waive him, for a conditional seventh-round pick. Burgess was released Sept. 28 from the Patriots’ 53-man roster to make room for defensive lineman Terdell Sands. Burgess cleared waivers and was brought back to the Patriots’ practice squad. The Ravens have a need at linebacker after Brendon Ayanbadejo said he suffered a torn quadriceps while trying to tackle Sammy Morris in the fourth quarter Sunday. Ayanbadejo said he will need surgery . . . Ravens offensive tackle Jared Gaither could play Sunday against Cincinnati, depending on the results of an MRI he had yesterday. While blocking, Gaither was knocked backward into quarterback Joe Flacco. The 6-foot-9-inch, 340-pound Gaither lay motionless for about 10 minutes and was taken off the Gillette Stadium field on a stretcher, but he had motion in both legs and arms . . . Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo was spotted in the locker room walking without a noticeable limp. Mayo was in good spirits, but politely declined to speak to reporters . . . Linebacker/defensive end Derrick Burgess was asked whether he’d give up No. 55 for Seau. “Oh man, I don’t even get into all of that,’’ he said. “I’ll deal with that when he gets here.’’

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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