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Sports

October 22, 2008

Life without Rodney begins today

Pats must move on despite injuries

On Pro Football

Hector Longo

LAWRENCE - Like the good soldier he is, Heath Evans wasn't divulging any news on Rodney Harrison.

The New England Patriots fullback, graciously giving up his day off to meet, greet and inform upperclassmen at Lawrence High School here yesterday on the benefits of quality nutrition habits, didn't have to speak on the veteran Harrison.

The ominous look said it all.

As reported yesterday on NFL.com, Harrison suffered a torn quadriceps muscle Monday night on the final third-quarter play in the blowout of Denver. Harrison, the 35-year-old safety, will likely join Tom Brady and Laurence Maroney on the injured reserve, meaning he won't return this year or possibly ever.

"It was a good win, but a tough game, too," said Evans, who played a huge role lead-blocking for Sammy Morris as the Pats rolled up 257 rushing yards Monday night. "Rodney is such an emotional player. I think his face might have said a million words."

As he was carted off the field, Harrison gave a point, probably to his family as if to say he was OK, then acknowledged the Gillette Stadium crowd with a few appreciative waves.

Harrison has been a Warrior here in Foxboro since 2002, but has endured a list of painful injuries that cost him 19 games over the 2005 and 2006 seasons.

Coach Bill Belichick did not officially disclose the specifics on the Harrison injury in his scheduled conference call with the media, noting only: "It was difficult watching Rodney get carted off."

Harrison's exit comes at a precarious time for a New England secondary, that like nearly the entire roster, has been wildly inconsistent.

Currently, rookie corner Terrence Wheatley remains inactive as he nurses his way back to health. Second-year man Brandon Meriweather will be expected to shoulder the brunt of the safety work next to James Sanders.

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