BOSTON (CBS) — When you’re responsible for taking out Tom Brady for an entire NFL season, Patriots fans will probably never like you.
Yet, Bernard Pollard insists that in New England, he shouldn’t be the bad guy.
“I don’t laugh when people come up to me and call me ‘The Brady Killer.’ I don’t laugh at that,” Pollard told The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. “I’m looking at a man that I respect. I respect Tom Brady with everything that I have. I know his story, I respect him, first of all, because he’s a man. I respect him because he’s a player. Honestly, I don’t get excited because of that. … Nothing is done maliciously.”
Pollard, of course, was speaking of his hit in Week 1 of the 2008 season which left Brady with a torn ACL and ended the quarterback’s season. Patriots fans know that Pollard’s impact on the Patriots didn’t end there, though. While Pollard wasn’t necessarily responsible for Wes Welker’s torn ACL and MCL, he was the defender closing in for the tackle on Welker. And last year in the AFC Championship Game, Pollard landed on Rob Gronkowski’s ankle while making a tackle, severely limiting the Patriots’ dangerous tight end in the Super Bowl two weeks later.
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Pollard knows all of this, but he said it doesn’t mean he’s a villain.
“They can think I’m a villain all they want to,” Pollard told Raporport. “I think the fans have to understand that we as players, we don’t come out and look to hurt anybody. That’s not our intention by any means. But I think fans have to understand that this is a very violent game. And at any snap of the ball, anybody can get hurt.”
So maybe Pollard didn’t mean to hurt anyone and the fact that he was there for three significant Patriots injuries over the years was bizarre coincidence. That’s almost certainly the case, but you can bet Patriots fans will be holding their breath every time they see No. 31 on Baltimore get near anybody in a white jersey on Sunday night.