Former NFL player Rodney Harrison calls NY Jets’ Zach Wilson “garbage” and Dallas Cowboys’ Micah Parsons didn’t like that
The Jets QB has come in for harsh criticism in recent weeks which while natural in the high-stakes environment of the NFL, is beginning to feel unfair.
Following the splash made by the franchise with Aaron Rodgers in the offseason, one has to feel some degree of sympathy for the Jets now that they face the remainder of the campaign without him. The team of course has turned to third-year quarterback Zach Wilson and for the moment, things aren’t going well.
Zach Wilson turned up but it wasn’t enough
Though many were likely focussed on the presence of Taylor Swift and what it means where rumors about a relationship with Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce are concerned, the reality is the New York Jets put in an impressive performance against the defending Super Bowl champions on “Sunday Night Football.” The Week 4 clash was a tight one, ending with a score line of 23-20 in the Chiefs’ favor. A major part of why the game was so close was the stellar contribution of Jets quarterback Zach Wilson, who it has to be said was significantly better than the Chiefs QB and reigning league MVP, Patrick Mahomes.
On the night, Wilson registered 245 passing yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions on 28 of 39 passing for a 105.2 passer rating. It was in fact the first time in the third-year signal caller’s career that he posted multiple passing touchdowns and conceded no interceptions. Meanwhile, Mahomes threw for 203 passing yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions on 18 of 30 passing for a 63.6 passer rating. To be clear, Wilson is the first quarterback to tally more completions, more passing yards, more passing touchdowns, and fewer interceptions than Mahomes in the entirety of the Chiefs’ signal caller’s 127 starts, and that includes college. Indeed, this is what makes the postgame comments of retired NFL safety, Rodney Harrison, not just strange but derogatory.
So, what did Rodney Harrison say?
If you’re familiar with NBC’s postgame show, then you will be familiar with the above-mentioned Harrison who is one of the show’s analysts. Speaking after the Chiefs win, Harrison engaged the team’s defensive tackle, Chris Jones, in a conversation about what transpired and specifically, the Jets quarterback. “Was Zach better on tape than you thought he would be?” Harrison asked before seemingly coaxing Jones into an answer. “You can be honest.” For his part, Jones complimented Wilson, while acknowledging his progress during this campaign.
Appearing to not accept the answer as satisfactory, Harrison pushed. “Watching that tape, man, you have to be like, ‘This dude is garbage, we should really tear him apart.’” Again, Jones seemed to avoid the school of thought by referring to Wilson as “special”, before explaining that the “just needs time to grow.” It was at this point that Harrison seemed to soften his stance before complimenting Jones himself. “I think he had a special night, but you have to prove you are special over time. You [Jones] are special.”
Cowboys’ Micah Parsons doesn’t agree with Rodney Harrison
As you can probably guess, Harrison’s comments were not well received, least of all by another player in the league, the Dallas Cowboys’ Michah Parsons. Speaking on his “The Edge” podcast on Monday, the star linebacker came to the defense of Wilson. For the purpose of context, it’s worth noting that the Cowboys beat the Jets 30-10 in Week 2, a game in which Wilson did not play well and registered three interceptions. As for Parsons, he was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week following the victory, with his two sacks, six quarterback pressures, three tackles for loss, and a forced fumble leaving no doubt as to why.
“To me bro, that’s just not right,” Parsons said. “I always keep my faith in God, and I’m going to keep this real with you. We are not one to judge. We can’t keep saying someone is garbage, saying who is special and who’s not special. If you’re a really good football player, yes Chris Jones is a really good football player. Is he a better football player than Zach Wilson? Yes, but Chris has built himself upon that [status]. We’re not giving Zach Wilson that same courtesy. Let him grow and continue to get better each week.” Parsons didn’t stop there either, calling Harrison’s interview “fraudulent” before doubling down on the idea that at such a young age, and in only his third year, Wilson must be given time.
“To me that’s a fraudulent move,” Parsons said. “Zach Wilson is special in his own way bro. You can’t sit here and say, you look at the tape and he’s garbage. ...You can say he’s not a Mahomes tier [quarterback], but you can’t say he’s not a good quarterback. He’s a starting quarterback in the NFL. Rodney, if you were so good, then show me you can [be an NFL quarterback]. He is a top-five pick, and he got drafted that high for a reason. Let his traits and everything he do grow.”
At that point, Parsons had words for Wilson himself:
“Zach, you’re out there,” Parsons said. “I hope you win, I hope you grow into the player no one thinks you can grow into. There is a lot people hating on you brother. Hall of Famers [a reference to recent comments by former Jets QB, Joe Namath], ex-pro players [Harrison], which makes no sense. I get we all love the game of football, but we have to remember Zach is a human being. ...We don’t use our platform to degrade other players. We use our platform to uplift people. Everyone in this world just needs someone to believe in them, and I’m big on that.”
Robert Saleh indicates Rodney Wilson apologized to Zach Wilson
While some will likely view it as lip service, credit must be given to Harris in that according to Jets head coach Robert Saleh, the former NFL player actually apologized to Wilson for his comments. Speaking on Monday, Saleh spoke to the incident and how it was handled. “I heard about it this morning and from my understanding, Rodney handled everything the right way,” Saleh said, via The 33rd Team. “Rodney is a good man. ... He handled it exactly how it’s supposed to. ...It’s part of the profession, fair or unfair. Even though it feels personal, it’s not personal. We get it, it’s part of the business.”