Prior to Sunday Night Football this past weekend, former NFL safety Rodney Harrison gave his thoughts on Detroit Lions‘ players not having a lot of respect for quarterback Matthew Stafford.
“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.”
Earlier in the day, Stafford was shoved out of bounds by Anthony Barr of the Minnesota Vikings and very few Lions’ players came to his defense.
On Monday, while on “The Mitch Albom Show,” Stafford acknowledged Harrison’s comments but disagreed wholeheartedly. In fact, the Lions’ signal-caller thought his teammates did the right thing.
“I thought it was a great response,” Stafford said. “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.”
Now, rather than just letting it go, Harrison is defending his original comments by firing back at Stafford.
“The number one rule among a great football team is always protect your quarterback,” Harrison 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.”
What do you think Nation? Does Harrison have a point? Should the Lions’ players have come to the defense of Stafford no matter what the cost, or did they do the right thing?