NBC NFL analyst Rodney Harrison joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday to discuss the big topics around the league. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

NBC NFL analyst Rodney Harrison joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday to discuss the big topics around the league. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Earlier this week, reports came out that there is a division the Seahawks locker room. A Bleacher Report story, in particular, reported that some African-American players on the team feel that quarterback Russell Wilson “isn’t black enough.”

“I think that a notion that you’€™re not black enough or you’€™re a sellout because you talk a certain way, because you dress a certain way, if you marry outside your race, I just think it speaks to the ignorance in our society,” Harrison said. “When you look at someone, obviously you have to judge them by spending time with them, how the way he carries himself. But that is a problem, a problem to small section of our community where they think if you’€™re successful, or if you talk a certain way, I mean people come up to me and say, ‘Russell Wilson, is he black?’ Why would you say that? Just because he’€™s a very intelligent guy, he dresses a certain way and maybe because his ex-wife was white. … I think it’€™s just very ignorant and I think it’€™s just a very closed-minded way of looking at people.”

Continued Harrison: “You talk about the Seattle Seahawks in particular, I think that’€™s why it’€™s so hard to repeat as Super Bowl champs because there’€™s a lot of jealousy in an NFL locker room. A lot people won’€™t admit to it, but there’€™s a lot of jealousy. When you have success, some guys get more attention than others. A lot of times, certain guys can’€™t handle that.”

When Harrison played with the Patriots, he said he never had a problem with Tom Brady, and the team itself was a very close-knit unit. That’€™s what, as Harrison said, helped make New England successful.

“Tom’s one’€™s of those dudes where he’€™s just so smooth, and he was just a good guy,” Harrison said. “I honestly didn’t look at what we had in white teammates. We were just like a big family. Everyone cared about each other and we had Bible studies together, we had a real good group of guys.”

Even with the apparent problems in Seattle, Harrison said there are plenty of fine players on the Seahawks that will carry them through this tough time.

Said Harrison: “I don’€™t think they’€™ll go .500, I think ultimately there’€™s a lot more good guys in that locker room than there are bad guys. Pete Carroll, people say, ‘Well, he’€™s too much of a players’ coach.’ I don’€™t think he is. When he had to make a tough decision like getting rid of Percy Harvin, he did that. And that bought back some of the respect from the guys. … I think this team is highly athletic and very talented, but I do think this a big test for the leadership, how Pete Carroll handles this and also speaks to the leadership. I know this is a young team, but young guys like Richard Sherman, you talk about Richard Sherman when things are going well, and him screaming and being in the national spotlight. It’€™s time for him and other guys like Earl Thomas to step up and really take control of that locker room.”

Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.

On if he ever experienced a divided racial locker room: “No, I haven’€™t to be honest with you. I’ve had guys that I had to sit down and have conversations with because guys had one way of thinking. ‘Well, this is how blacks are, this is how whites. This is how guys that are Christians are.’ You have a lot of conversations on a plane and on a bus ride. But for the most part, as a professional, being around a bunch of guys and spending so much time with them, most of the guys that I’ve been around, I can wholeheartedly say that they had respect for one another.”

On if he would be surprised if the Broncos didn’t win the Super Bowl: “Every week is so unpredictable. You look at San Diego, and we were just riding San Diego and talking about how great they were. Then they lost two divisional games. And then we talked about the Cowboys at the beginning of the season, how terrible their defense was, and how much improved they are now. So nothing really surprises me in this league. The one thing about Peyton Manning, and we say it all the time, he’€™s going to put up great numbers, they’€™re going to give you a show during the year. But it comes down to can he win a Super Bowl? And that’€™s his Achilles’ heel right now.”

On Jay Cutler and his inconsistencies: “Everyone sits back and talks about Cutler.  When you’€™re a starting quarterback in the league, you’€™re going to get paid a lot of money. That’€™s just it is what it is. I mean, whether you’€™re Andy Dalton or you’€™re Jay Cutler, you’€™re going to get paid. I think people are so intrigued with this guy because he has such a great arm and just a really, really good athlete. I played against him, he’€™s an excellent athlete. And when he looks good, he looks like one of the best. But when he looks bad, he looks like one of the worst. And it’€™s hot and cold. And that’€™s unfortunate when you have a quarterback like that.”

Blog Author: 
Andrew Battifarano


FOXBORO — The question was waiting to be asked but Bill Belichick wasn’t about to provide an answer.

FOXBORO — The question was waiting to be asked but Bill Belichick wasn’t about to provide an answer.

Still, Kevin Walsh of Comcast Sports New England asked the Patriots coach exactly what happened with Darrelle Revis on Tuesday, when the star cornerback was a no-show at practice.

The Boston Globe reported a day later that Belichick sent Revis home after he overslept and showed up late to a team meeting. Revis reportedly came back later in the day and apologized to Belichick.

Before the news broke, Revis was asked Wednesday by ESPNBoston.com’s Mike Reiss if Tuesday’s day off was just a “mental break” day.

“That’s between me and coach,” Revis replied. “Ask him about it.”

Well, on Friday, Walsh did just that, pressing Belichick for his version of events on Tuesday.

“Anything between me and the players is between myself and the players.”

You sent him home, is that correct?

“I didn’t say that.”

He was here and then …

“I’m ready to talk about the Bears. Anything else is between myself and the players.”

Will his playing time be impacted on Sunday, based on that?

“Well, I think the Bears are really a good team. I think they’re going to be a tough, tough matchup for us. We’re going to do the best we can to match up against them.”

OK, then.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

WEEI.com Patriots writer Chris Price previews the Week 8 matchup between the Patriots and Bears. Find out the keys to the game as well as Chris’ prediction.

Blog Author: 
Matt Forte is one of the best multidimensional threats in the league. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Matt Forte is one of the best multidimensional threats in the league. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Vince Wilfork knows there are few offensive options around the league like Matt Forte.

The 29-year-old Forte is the driving element of the Chicago offense ‘€” after seven games, he leads the Bears in rushing (111 carries, 448 yards, three TDs) and receiving (52 catches, 436 yards, two TDs). The 6-foot-1, 221-pounder, who was a second-round pick out of Tulane in 2008, is the only back in the league who has at least 50 catches and 50 carries through the first seven games of the season. He’s first in the league in catches, and second in the league in combined yards from scrimmage with 884.

“He’s a threat every time he steps on to the field in a number of different ways: passing game, running game,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said of Forte. “He’s tough, great vision, great balance. He definitely has the ability to turn nothing into something in a hurry and he can turn something into a lot in a hurry too.

“[He's a] hard guy to tackle, does a good job of creating space for himself and finding openings, getting to places where there are fewer defenders and then taking advantage of it. But even when he’s boxed in or guys get a shot of him, he still makes yards. He’s a terrific player; couldn’t say enough good things about him. He’s a very, very complete player.”

With Forte, the idea isn’t so much stopping him, but slowing him down. Wilfork says there “aren’t a lot” of backs out there who are as much of a multidimensional threat as Forte.

“The way he catches the ball out of the backfield, you’d think he was a receiver,” Wilfork said Thursday after practice. “He can run the ball well. You saw it last week, the first drive of the second half what they did with him getting the ball in his hands and they want down and scored. He was the one who put them in the end zone on that drive.

“I can see them doing a lot more of that coming into this game,” he added. “Trying to get that running game started so it can open up the play-action pass and get the ball down vertical to those big receivers. But we have to do a real good job up front of trying to take away their run game.”

While Forte is a threat on multiple levels, for a defense that’s yielded 190 or more rushing yards in three of their seven games to open the season, his work on the ground is what stands as the most sizable threat to the Patriots. Wilfork, who said in the wake of the win over the Jets that the issues facing the run defense were fixable, noted that many of the issues come down to fundamentals — namely, being able to tackle properly.

“Sometimes, we miss tackles and overplay some things, and that costs us. It costs us big,” Wilfork said. “We have to be sure tacklers. We have good tacklers, but we just have to put it together on a regular basis. That’s what it comes down to, no matter how you slice it. We have to tackle.

“We have to be able to get off the field in third down and in the red area — just make them kick field goals. We have to continue to play good football in the red area. I think that was one of the things that helped us last week was in the red area, just allowing them to kick field goals instead of giving up seven points. That was probably the only thing we did well. But it was just another building block for us. We have to continue to get better an execute our game plan to the highest level, especially against [the Bears].”

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
Akeem Ayers has nine career sacks with the Titans. (Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Akeem Ayers joined the Patriots this week. (Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Akeem Ayers sounds like a man happy for a fresh start.

The outside linebacker, who was acquired by the Patriots from Tennessee earlier this week for a draft pick in hopes of shoring up New England’€™s front seven, saw his Titans’ career end on a sour note when he clashed with first-year Tennessee coach Ken Whisenhunt on a few issues.

But on Thursday afternoon, he said that’s all behind him.

“I’m pretty much just happy to be here,” he said after practice. “Obviously, I wasn’t playing there, and I’m happy to be in a good situation here. So all in all, just pretty much just happy to be in a better position where I can get on the field to play possibly and move on from there.”

Ayers and Whisenhunt reportedly clashed on a few different things, including Ayers’ apparent lack of value on special teams, as well as Ayers’ rehab process after undergoing surgery on both knees over the course of the offseason. That could have been one of the reasons Ayers only played 10 snaps over the first seven games of the season.

“I think we had an opportunity, and I think it was good for both parties,” Whisenhunt told reporters who asked about the trade on Wednesday. “It gave Akeem a chance to get a fresh start, and it gave us a chance to get something in exchange for that.

“I think really a big part of it was special teams. When you’re in that role, you’ve got to be able to contribute special teams wise, and we needed that, and we just didn’t feel like we were getting enough in that area.”

On Thursday, Ayers indicated that his knees aren’t an issue. He also sounded like someone who wouldn’t be averse to the idea of playing special teams in New England, saying that he “definitely” has a special teams background.

“I worked hard all offseason to get back healthy — [I] had some good rehab and things like that,” he said when asked about his knees. “It paid off. I’€™m feeling great, not limited, I’m happy where I’m at.”

The 6-foot-3, 253-pound Ayers was a defensive end at UCLA, and had his best season in 2012 when he had a career-best six sacks and eight passes defensed to go along with 110 tackles for Tennessee. From 2011 through 2013, he started 44 of a possible 48 games in his first three years with the Titans.

In terms of how he fits in Foxboro, Patriots coach Bill Belichick had a couple of ideas.

“He’s played linebacker. He’€™s played defensive end in some sub situations,” Belichick said of Ayers on Wednesday. “We will see [what he is more suited to play]. I’d say he has some versatility, but we will see.”

“I believe I have a lot of versatility,” Ayers said. “I’m able to drop in coverage, a lot of things that people already know. I can drop in coverage [and] I can rush, so I think that can help me out.”

In terms of whether or not he’ll be able to go this weekend against the Bears, Ayers, who will wear No. 52, remains optimistic.

“We haven’t gotten to detail that much,” he said when asked about the potential for him to play this weekend. “I just got here, and I’ve got to meet with people, a lot of things like that, but I think the defense fits what I’m able to do well.

“We do a lot of different things, so it can be good, but at the same time I’m just trying to learn each day, we’re progressing as far as what I’m going to be doing, what I’m not going to be doing. I’ve only been here for a few days, so I’m trying to take it a day at a time.”

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

For a second straight day, Chandler Jones (hip) was the only Patriots player to miss practice. It’s been reported the injury is expected to keep him out of action for about a month.