Harrison told “Sunday Night Football” host Dan Patrick and co-analyst Tony Dungy that he wasn’t surprised that Joyner would commit an act that many decried as a dirty play, calling it “typical of Jeff Fisher-type teams.” The former safety recounted an episode from 2006, when he suffered a severe knee injury after a low block by wide receiver Bobby Wade, who played for the Fisher-coached Titans.
Fisher wasted no time at his weekly press conference responding to Harrison’s accusation. The coach had clearly done some research, or at least had it done on his behalf, into Harrison’s own less-than-spotless reputation as a player. Here is what Fisher had to say in response to a reporter’s question about Harrison’s criticism (via ESPN’s Adam Schefter):
“Yeah, I saw it as a matter of fact. I was actually … I don’t want to say I took things personal, but it was kind of a personal attack on me. But, again, I think you have to consider the source. I saw it last night on the airplane. You’re talking about a guy that had a great career. I mean, the guy 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. Okay? 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. Our main focus, as you guys have followed this league for a long time know, our main focus is player safety. So, for Rodney to come out and say that I did something like that is absolutely absurd. So, that’s all I have to say on that.”
Well, alrighty, then. Of course, attacking the messenger doesn’t always mean that the message was incorrect, but Fisher does have a point that Harrison himself was widely considered a dirty player by his peers. On the other hand, that could also mean that Harrison should be considered an authority on the topic.
Fisher, however, wasn’t done firing back at those who took issue with Joyner’s hit. Although Zimmer had singled out Williams, the Vikings coach had offered a noticeably brief and icy handshake to Fisher after the game.
“Mike’s and my handshake was very short,” Fisher told reporters Monday (via Pro Football Talk). “He didn’t say a word. I went out to congratulate him. I was going to ask him how his quarterback was and congratulate him on the win, and he was gone.
“I understand that, but you also need to control your emotions after a game and go look at the tape and then adjust accordingly.”
In related news, reports emerged Monday that Joyner would not be suspended for the hit, which can be seen below, although a fine is still possible. Bridgewater is going through the NFL’s concussion protocol, but the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted that the quarterback “is feeling much better.”