FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) Duron Harmon thought it was time to talk up.
It was a few half-hour after the Patriots’ 33-30 loss to the Carolina Panthers on Oct. 1. As his teammates walked round in a daze following their second loss in 4 video games, Harmon didn’t maintain again when requested what was fallacious with a protection that already had given up 30 or extra factors 3 times.
”Clearly, what we’re doing shouldn’t be ok, so we have to go have a look within the mirror and simply look and understand: Are we doing sufficient to win?” he stated that night time.
Each the phrases and the sentiment had a well-known ring to them.
That’s as a result of it was Harmon who issued an identical problem to his group throughout halftime of final yr’s Tremendous Bowl towards Atlanta. It’s a pep speak his teammates credited with serving to them full their 25-level comeback.
Since signing a 4-yr, $17 million contract this previous offseason, the defensive captain has turn out to be an much more vocal presence within the Patriots’ locker room and was considered one of their most constant gamers down the stretch.
He led the staff with 4 interceptions, together with one in the long run zone within the waning seconds of New England’s 27-24 win at Pittsburgh that might assist it safe house-area benefit within the postseason.
The 27-yr-previous says he nonetheless seems like a ”younger participant” however that he has felt extra comfy talking his thoughts as he heads to his third Tremendous Bowl, the place the Patriots will face the Philadelphia Eagles subsequent Sunday.
A part of the reason being as a result of he thinks he’s enjoying alongside a defensive unit that’s simply as robust mentally because the one which confirmed up when it needed to towards Atlanta. He additionally doesn’t have to fret about hurting anybody’s emotions in a locker room the place the demand for excellence is so excessive.
”Only a group of fighters,” Harmon stated. ”I imply you simply take a look at the best way the yr progressed – began the yr not the best way we needed to, got here out and misplaced the opener, obtained to 2-2, however no one in right here actually listened to the noise. We ignored it. We did all the things we will to get higher and attempt to progress all year long and that’s the rationale why we’re right here proper now, simply because we continued to battle.”
Patriots security Devin McCourty stated Harmon’s preparation is noticeable to his teammates and provides him credibility when he chooses to talk out. It additionally has allowed the teaching employees to belief him late in video games.
”The state of affairs doesn’t have an effect on him. The strain doesn’t hassle him,” McCourty stated. ”Since he was a younger man in right here, if he was thrown in there on the finish of the sport he was able to go, and I assumed he’s all the time completed an excellent job of benefiting from alternatives.”
It’s additionally stored Harmon on the sector.
He appeared in all sixteen common-season video games for the fourth straight season. Although typically utilized in nickel conditions because the third security, together with within the playoffs, Harmon has been on the sector for 60 % or extra of the Patriots’ defensive snaps eleven occasions this season.
Having him out there’s by no means a nasty factor, coach Invoice Belichick stated.
”Whether or not he’s 60 % or eighty %, no matter it’s, 70 %, no matter it finally ends up being – we would like him on the sector. He does a superb job for us,” Belichick stated.
Harmon stated enjoying in place that places such a premium on accountability is what drew him in from the start.
”In case you love profitable it’s not arduous,” he stated. ”I imply that is what this place is about – profitable. All the things we do, every thing we sacrifice for is for to win. Coming right here as a younger man 5 years in the past, I simply see how aggressive this place was and I simply needed to be part of it so I did all the things in my energy to proceed to get higher and attempt to ensure that on the finish of coaching camp I’m all the time on this roster.”
Extra AP NFL: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL
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