(CBS) The heated debate between NBC football analyst and former player Rodney Harrison and Rams coach Jeff Fisher continued Tuesday morning regarding an illegal hit by St. Louis safety Lamarcus Joyner that knocked Minnesota quarterback Teddy Bridgewater unconscious Sunday.
The Vikings were infuriated by the hit on a sliding Bridgewater that drew a personal foul. Harrison agreed on Sunday night, calling it a “dirty hit” and then starting in on Fisher.
“It’s a cheap shot right to the helmet,” Harrison said, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I wasn’t surprised because it happened to me in 2006. Bobby Wade came and chopped my knees and tore my knee up. I’m lying on the ground, and I look at Jeff Fisher and he’s smiling and laughing. So this is typical of Jeff Fisher-type teams.”
Fisher responded Tuesday morning during his press conference, taking Harrison’s history to task.
“It was kind of a personal attack on me,” Fisher said, according to NFL.com. “Again, I think you have to consider the source (Harrison). I saw it last night on the airplane. You’re talking about a guy that had a great career. I mean, he played a long time, he was hard to defend, he was a really active defensive player. But this is coming from a guy that had 18 unnecessary roughness penalties, seven personal fouls, four roughing the passer penalties, a total of 77 penalties in his career and was voted three times the dirtiest player in the National Football League and was suspended for a hit, a helmet-to-helmet hit on Jerry Rice in 2002. This is where these comments are coming from. I’ll just say this. Since 2000, it’s been a privilege and honor for me to be on the competition committee. And our main focus … is player safety. So for Rodney to come out and say that I did something like that is absolutely absurd.”
Harrison then joined the Spiegel and Goff Show on 670 The Score later Tuesday morning. After initially saying his bosses told him to “leave it alone,” he couldn’t help but share a piece of his mind anyway.
“He’s very fortunate,” Harrison said of Fisher. “Because I got a lot of stuff that I could say, OK. But the one thing, the one thing about it — if I’m such a dirty player, if I’m such a dirty player … the one thing I would know, right, is a cheap shot. The one thing I would know is a cheap shot, and that’s what it was. That’s the bottom line.
“Trust me: A whole lot of people around the league thought it was a cheap shot.”
Harrison confirmed the 2006 incident in which he was hurt by Wade while Fisher was coaching the Titans was the root of his drama with Fisher.
“Of course, it’s the truth,” Harrison said. “That’s what I saw. That’s what I experienced. You don’t come in there, and you don’t go at nobody’s knees. Players understand that, especially from the side. It was non-sense for Bobby to do that. The one thing about me is I had many opportunities to take guys out, OK. And (Fisher) mentioned the Jerry Rice hit. The Jerry Rice hit, he came across the middle. I thought it was a legitimate hit, and the reason I was suspended was other things. When the NFL is watching you, they continue to watch you.
“They don’t let you get away with anything. So was I personally watched and targeted by the NFL? Of course I was. And people can say what they want to say. But the same coaches (Fisher) was in meetings with and stuff like that will come out and say, ‘Hey, Rodney, you’re a heckuva a player and we would love to have your toughness and intensity and what you bring every day.'”
Harrison did say he didn’t have anything personal against Fisher.
“I don’t dislike Jeff Fisher,” Harrison said. “I think Jeff Fisher, what he’s accomplished in his career, has been fantastic. I don’t have anything personal with this guy. But when you’re talking about what happened, I’m talking about what happened.”
Harrison then, somewhat amusingly, took credit for the Rams winning the Super Bowl following the 1999 season because he hurt starting quarterback Trent Green on a controversial hit in a preseason game, after what he said was a missed block by running back Marshall Faulk. That opened up the door for Kurt Warner to take over at quarterback, and he had a sensational, MVP-winning season.
“If you look at the film, Marshall Faulk — and I love Marshall Faulk dearly, one of the best running backs I’ve ever played against, one of the best in history — if Marshall Faulk makes his block, none of that stuff happens,” Harrison said. “And if it doesn’t happen, they don’t get a Super Bowl. So they can say whatever they want. Like I said before, Trent Green, you think I personally wanted to go after Trent Green? No way, no way. But if you go back and look at the play, if Marshall Faulk … makes the block the right way, no, it never happens.”